A green sea slug found off North America’s east coast not only looks like a leaf, but can also make food out of sunlight, just like a plant.
Excerpt from original article found at NewScientist.com. Find the full article and much more information there.
15 July 2006 by Stephanie Pain
On 14 June 1918, the supply ship Makambo struck a submerged rock off Lord Howe Island, a volcanic dot 780 kilometres north-east of Sydney, Australia. The cargo was salvaged and taken ashore to the island, which is a semi-tropical paradise, lushly forested and rich in plants and animals found nowhere else. Unfortunately, the ship’s rats came ashore too. They spread rapidly, soon dispatching several island species, including a giant wingless stick insect, or phasmid. By the 1930s, the Lord Howe Island phasmid (Dryococelus australis) was written off as extinct.
By all accounts, it had been a spectacular insect, so big the islanders called it the land lobster. Females grew up to 15 centimetres long, with bodies as thick as a finger and long, stout legs equipped with hooks. The slightly shorter males had peculiarly massive thighs armed with evil-looking spines. They couldn’t fly but they could run surprisingly fast.[...]
However, in 1964, a rock climber found a dead phasmid, not on Lord Howe Island but on Balls Pyramid, a remote spire of rock 24 kilometres to the south-east. Another climber found two more dead phasmids there in 1969, one lodged in a bush, the other as part of a seabird’s nest – a stick insect mistaken for a stick. Was the giant phasmid alive and well and living somewhere on Balls Pyramid? It seemed improbable. This was a creature of warm, damp forests that needed living trees with sizeable hollows to hide in. Balls Pyramid is the world’s highest sea stack, its sheer cliffs rising 550 metres. Isolated, exposed to high winds and with no apparent water supply, the islet has just a few scraps of vegetation and no trees. To everyone’s disappointment but no one’s surprise, every expedition that went in search of giant phasmids drew a blank.
This article from NewScientist is a must-read! A great recount of a fascinating story…
Long Live the Phasmids!
What tipped me off to Land Lobsters? The Tree Lobsters! comic. Science geeks beware- there’s hilarity afoot! Don’t miss the secret messages under each comic.
And the Bug Girl’s Blog.
Quoted from the AP article Thousands of strange creatures found deep in ocean, by Cain Burdeau
Nov. 22, 2009
A report released Sunday recorded 17,650 species living below 656 feet, the point where sunlight ceases. The findings were the latest update on a 10-year census of marine life.
“Parts of the deep sea that we assumed were homogenous are actually quite complex,” said Robert S. Carney, an oceanographer at Louisiana State University and a lead researcher on the deep seas.
Thousands of marine species eke out an existence in the ocean’s pitch-black depths by feeding on the snowlike decaying matter that cascades down — even sunken whale bones. Oil and methane also are an energy source for the bottom-dwellers, the report said.
The researchers have found about 5,600 new species on top of the 230,000 known. They hope to add several thousand more by October 2010, when the census will be done.
The scientists say they could announce that a million or more species remain unknown. On land, biologists have catalogued about 1.5 million plants and animals.
More than 40 new species of coral were documented on deep-sea mountains, along with cities of brittlestars and anemone gardens. Nearly 500 new species ranging from single-celled creatures to large squid were charted in the abyssal plains and basins.
Also of importance were the 170 new species that get their energy from chemicals spewing from ocean-bottom vents and seeps. Among them was a family of “yeti crabs,” which have silky, hairlike filaments on the legs.
A team of scientists from Britain, the United States and Papua New Guinea found more than 40 previously unidentified species when they climbed into the kilometre-deep crater of Mount Bosavi and explored a pristine jungle habitat teeming with life that has evolved in isolation since the volcano last erupted 200,000 years ago. In a remarkably rich haul from just five weeks of exploration, the biologists discovered 16 frogs which have never before been recorded by science, at least three new fish, a new bat and a giant rat, which may turn out to be the biggest in the world.
The plant is among the largest of all pitchers and is believed to be the largest meat-eating shrub, dissolving rats with acid-like enzymes.
The team of botanists, led by British experts Stewart McPherson and Alastair Robinson, found the plant on Mount Victoria in the Philippines.
They decided to name the plant Nepenthes attenboroughii, after the wildlife broadcaster Sir David.
Find the entire article at Telegraph.co.uk.(Thanks to Crumpled-Wings for the heads-up on this most excellent discovery!)
In the hot, dark water of a South African mine, scientists have found the world’s loneliest species.
Everywhere else biologists have studied life on our planet, they’ve found communities of life, but today, biologists announced they have discovered an ecosystem that contains just a single species of bacteria.
In all other known ecosystems, the key functions of life — harvesting energy and elements like carbon and nitrogen from the environment — have been shared among different species. But in the water of the Mponeng gold mine, two miles under the earth’s surface, Desulforudis audaxviator carries out all of those functions by itself. In short, it’s the tidiest package of life found yet.
Scientists have found more evidence that the Indonesian “Hobbit” skeletons belong to a new species of human – and not modern pygmies.
via BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Hobbits ‘are a separate species’.
Scientists studying submerged sinkholes in the Great Lakes off the coast of northern Michigan have stumbled onto something they never expected to find: life forms akin to those found in some of Earth’s most extreme environments.
Read the article at Physorg.com
The incredibly pink Dragon Millipede is able to shoot cyanide.
It’s one of over a thousand species found in the Greater Mekong in the past 10 years- that’s an average of 2 new species found per week for 10 years!
Find more info at WWF online!
Excerpt from original article posted at mongabay.com
November 10, 2008
–”Comparing the DNA of colugos across southeast Asia, an international team of researchers has found that Sunda colugo – one of two known species of colugo (the other is the Philippine colugo) – is actually made up of at least three species, which date back millions of years.
“We were guessing that we might find that there were different species of Sunda colugo-although we were not sure,” said Jan Janecka of Texas A&M University. “But what really surprised us was how old the speciation events were. Some went back four to five million years.”
The researchers speculate that the species tally is likely to rise as more research is done. Janecka says that that colugos’ high degree of speciation may be explained by their mode of locomotion – gliding between tall rainforest trees. Colugos are virtually incapable of crossing large open ground and populations would be been isolated and fragmented by the changes in sea levels and forest communities across their range over the past 10 million years.
The findings are likely to have conservation implications in a landscape that is rapidly being destroyed by loggers and industrial agriculture developers.”
[Read the entire article at mongabay.com]
Find additional articles and more photos at:
“ScienceDaily (Dec. 4, 2008) — A submarine expedition that went looking for visually flashy sea creatures instead found a drab, mud-covered blob that may turn out to be truly spectacular indeed.
The grape-like animal, tentatively named the Bahamian Gromia, is actually a single-celled organism, fully one inch long. But what makes it really fantastic is that it moves — very slowly — by rolling itself along the ocean floor.”
This is a major discovery in paleontology as well as marine biology!
Read the full article at ScienceDaily.com.
(From original article by Lisa Lombardi)
January 5th, 2009
One-hundred fifty years after Charles Darwin published On The Origin of Species—the book that laid out his theory of natural selection as a means of evolution—scientists are hailing the evolutionary significance of a creature that Darwin missed during his time in the Galápagos Islands: the pink iguana.
An article published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences outlines the importance of the rare “rosada iguana,” a type of land iguana that is only found on the island of Volcan Wolf in the Galápagos. This rosy-colored reptile with distinctive black striping was first spotted in 1986 when a couple of park rangers stumbled upon it, but its discovery barely made a splash in the science pond and no publication has “officially” noted its existence.
Read the full original article at ScienCentral.
That’s not a drawing. That’s the real photo.
“The beady bits on the front of the Pacific barreleye fish in this picture released February 23, 2009, aren’t eyes but smell organs. The grayish, barrel-like eyes are beneath the green domes, which may filter light. In this picture the eyes are pointing upward—the better to see prey above in the darkness of the barreleye’s deep-sea home. Since the eyes are upright tubes, “it just looked like [they only] looked straight up,” MBARI marine technician Kim Reisenbichler said. But by watching live fish from a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and by bringing a barrelfish to an aquarium for study, the scientists discovered that the eyes can pivot, like a birdwatcher pointing binoculars.”
Read more at National Geographic.
Conservationists have found a host of new species after discovering uncharted new territory on the internet map Google Earth.
Excerpt from original article by Louise Gray,
“The mountainous area of northern Mozambique in southern Africa had been overlooked by science due to inhospitable terrain and decades of civil war in the country.
However, while scrolling around on Google Earth, an internet map that allows the viewer to look at satellite images of anywhere on the globe, scientists discovered an unexpected patch of green.
A British-led expedition was sent to see what was on the ground and found 7,000 hectares of forest, rich in biodiversity, known as Mount Mabu.
In just three weeks, scientists led by a team from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew found hundreds of different plant species, birds, butterflies, monkeys and a new species of giant snake.
The samples which the team took are now back in Britain for analysis.
So far three new butterflies and one new species of snake have been discovered but it is believed there are at least two more new species of plants and perhaps more new insects to discover. …”
Read the entire article (and find more pics!) at the Telegraph.co.uk.
View many many more shots of the forest and animals at the Telegraph’s slideshow.
Scientists have rediscovered a long-lost species of primate on a remote island in Indonesia.
Conducting a survey of Mount Rore Katimbo in Lore Lindu National Park on the island of Sulawesi, a team led by Sharon Gursky-Doyen of Texas A&M University captured three pygmy tarsiers, a tiny species of primate that was last collected in 1921 and was assumed to be extinct until 2000 when two scientists studying rats accidently trapped and killed an individual. Gursky-Doyen’s team spent two months using 276 mist nets to capture the gremlin-like creatures so they could be fitted with radio collars and tracked. One other individual was spotted but eluded capture.
Pygmy tarsiers are among the smallest and rarest primates in the world. The species is distinguished from tarsiers by its diminutive size (50 grams) and its fingers which have claws instead of nails, which Gursky-Doyen believes may be an adaptation to its mossy habitat some 7,000-8,000 feet (2,100-2,440) about sea level. “
Read the full article, and find many more great photos (and a video!) of the pygmy tarsier at mongabay.com!
(thanks to mongabay for providing the great photos and map!)
From National Geographic.com:
“A new species of Plesionika shrimp probably won’t be thrown on the barbie anytime soon. That’s because it was found living at depths of 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) off the coast of Tasmania, researchers announced in October 2008.
An Australian survey team found the shrimp–along with hundreds of new species of corals, starfish, sponges, shrimps, and crabs–within a network of marine reserves.
The latest discovery “shows us there’s so much out there that we don’t know” said Justin Marshall, a marine scientist at the University of Queensland who was not part of the survey team. “We may be destroying habitat before we even know what’s there, so we need to describe it before it’s gone.”
For more images, and to read the rest of the information available, visit National Geographic.
Researchers have discovered a new species of Bagworm Moth that wraps its eggs individually in “beautiful cases” fashioned from its golden abdominal hairs, according to a new paper published in the Annals of the Entomology Society of America. The behavior is unique among insects.
“We were mystified when we found a bizarre bag-like structure, about 12 mm long, studded with fragments of other insects, and containing a live insect larva,” said Diomedes Quintero, a professor of biology at the University of Panama who collected the larvae.
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) — A tiny frog species thought by many experts to be extinct has been rediscovered alive and well in a remote area of Australia’s tropical north, researchers said Thursday.The 1.5 inch-long Armoured Mistfrog had not been seen since 1991, and many experts assumed it had been wiped out by a devastating fungus that struck northern Queensland state.But two months ago, a doctoral student at James Cook University in Townsville conducting research on another frog species in Queensland stumbled across what appeared to be several Armoured Mistfrogs in a creek, said professor Ross Alford, head of a research team on threatened frogs at the university.
Read the full article at the Environmental News Network.
An extremely rare female frog has been spotted for the first time in 20 years.
The tiny tree frog, Isthmohyla rivularis, was seen in Costa Rica’s Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve.
This species was thought to have become extinct two decades ago, but last year a University of Manchester researcher caught a glimpse of a male.
However, the discovery of the female and more males suggests this species is breeding and has been able to survive where many other frogs have not.
Andrew Gray, a herpetologist from Manchester Museum at the University of Manchester, said: “This has been the highlight of the whole of my career.
Read the entire article, and watch the two videos at BBConline. (don’t miss the second video at the bottom!)
Rare otter species ‘found in Vietnam’
Scientists came across the pair in U Minh Ha National Park in March, according to a statement from the Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Program.
“We were only about two and half metres away from them when we spotted the two otters. It was truly amazing to see such a rare species in the wild,” said research officer Nguyen Van Nhuan.
Hairy-nosed otters were thought to be extinct in the 1990s. However, they have since been rediscovered in Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia.
Read the complete article at PHYSORG.com
Excerpt from BBC News:
By Jennifer Carpenter
Science reporter, BBC News
The world’s smallest snake, averaging just 10cm (4 inches) and as thin as a spaghetti noodle, has been discovered on the Caribbean island of Barbados.
The snake, found beneath a rock in a tiny fragment of threatened forest, is thought to be at the very limit of how small a snake can evolve to be.
Females produce only a single, massive egg – and the young hatch at half of their adult body weight.
This new discovery is described in the journal Zootaxa.
The snake – named Leptotyphlops carlae – is the smallest of the 3,100 known snake species and was uncovered by Dr Blair Hedges, a biologist from Penn State University, US.
Read the full article at BBC News online.
Thanks again to the Amateur Naturalist for the tip.
Ok, all- this is a big one. I’m posting the heads up (kindly forwarded to me by the Amateur Naturalist), and will post more specifics if and when they come available:
from BBC News online:
An expedition to the rainforests of Guyana has discovered species new to science.
A team of researchers and wildlife film-makers spent six weeks searching the pristine forest as part of a BBC documentary.
The group believes it has revealed two fish species, one frog species and a number of bat flies that have not been described previously.
The finds are detailed in the BBC series Lost Land of the Jaguar.
The three-part documentary includes footage of the elusive South American cat.
Dr George McGavin was astonished at the variety of life on show
“In a short time, we caught hundreds of species, 10% of which may be new to science. It was unreal, unbelievable,” exclaimed Dr George McGavin, a zoologist and one of the four presenters of the documentary.
He added: “Catching is the easy bit, the hard bit is going back to the lab and examining the species, comparing them to collections and books – seeing if they are new to science. One hour in the field can equal hundreds of hours in the lab.”
Exerpt from original article by:
MICHAEL CASEY, AP Environmental Writer
Thursday, April 10, 2008
(04-10) 05:43 PDT BANGKOK, Thailand (AP)
A frog has been found in a remote part of Indonesia that has no lungs and breathes through its skin, a discovery that researchers said Thursday could provide insight into what drives evolution in certain species.
“These are about the most ancient and bizarre frogs you can get on the planet,” Bickford said of the brown amphibian with bulging eyes and a tendency to flatten itself as it glides across the water.
“They are like a squished version of Jabba the Hutt,” he said, referring to the character from Star Wars. “They are flat and have eyes that float above the water. They have skin flaps coming off their arms and legs.”
Along with the lungless frog, Bickford said his team discovered two new lizard species and four other species of frogs during their two-month trip.
Read full article at The San Francisco Chronicle online.
From BBC news:
Despite its name, the creature, along with the 15 other known species of elephant shrew, is not actually related to shrews.
Dr Rathbun told the BBC News website: “Elephant shrews are only found in Africa. They were originally described as shrews because they superficially resembled shrews in Europe and in America.”
In fact, the creature is more closely related to a group of African mammals, which includes elephants, sea cows, aardvarks and hyraxes, having shared a common ancestor with them about 100 million years ago.
“This is why they are also known as sengis,” explained Dr Rathbun.
From Yahoo news:
The newcomer, dubbed Rhynchocyon udzungwensis, stands head and shoulders above his cousins, weighing in at a massive 700 grammes (1.5 pounds), about 25 percent larger than any other known sengi.
He was identified by scientists Galen Rathbun of the California Academy of Sciences and Francesco Rovero of the Museum of Natural Sciences in Trento, Italy.
Their discovery is published in the February issue of the British-based Journal of Zoology.
“This is one of the most exciting discoveries of my career,” Rathbun, a 30-year veteran of sengi-watching, said in a press release.
“It is the first new species of giant elephant-shrew to be discovered in more than 126 years. From the moment I first lifted one of the animals into our photography tent, I knew it must be a new species — not just because of its distinct colouring, but because it was so heavy!”
Find the full BBC article here.
Read the rest of the Yahoo article here.
(thank you for reminding me, Ashley. I’ve been busy lately, and hadn’t gotten around to posting this one.)
the Smithsonian recently had an elephant shrew birth!
(tho not of this new species, it has great footage of elephant shrews on the move!)
From an original article
posted at Physorg.com
“When the ant Cephalotes atratus is infected with a parasitic nematode, its normally black abdomen turns red, resembling the many red berries in the tropical forest canopy. According to researchers, this is a strategy concocted by nematodes to entice birds to eat the normally unpalatable ant and spread the parasite in their droppings. (Steve Yanoviak/University of Arkansas)
Read the full article at Physorg.com
The Associated Press
Wednesday, January 16, 2008;
4:29 PM LONDON
– Eeek! Imagine a rodent that weighed a ton and was as big as a bull. Uruguayan scientists say they have uncovered fossil evidence of the biggest species of rodent ever found, one that scurried across wooded areas of South America about 4 million years ago, when the continent was not connected to North America.
A herbivore, the beast may have been a contemporary, and possibly prey, of saber-toothed cats _ a prehistoric version of Tom and Jerry.
For those afraid of rodents, forget hopping on a chair. Its huge skull, more than 20 inches long, suggested a beast more than eight feet long and weighing between 1,700 and 3,000 pounds….
Read the full article at the Washington Post online.
(AP) — A Dutch scientist thinks he has discovered a new species of wild pig nearly twice the size of other pigs in Brazil’s Amazon region.
At four feet long and 90 pounds, the pig is the latest in a string of new species that Marc van Roosmalen reported to have found since 1996. His findings were published in the Oct. 29 edition of the German scientific journal Bonner Zoologische Beitrage.
Van Roosmalen, said his discovery of the peccary – a kind of wild pig he dubbed Pecari maximus – points out the need to protect the region as a habitat for wild species.
He said he made his discovery by accident in 2000, while searching for a new monkey species.
The region where Roosmalen discovered the new peccary and other species – mostly primates – lies along a logging frontier around Nova Aripuana, where the number of sawmills has grown from two in 2002 to 14 today.
DNA analysis showed the animal diverged from the most closely related species, Pecari tajacu, or collared peccary, about 1 million to 1.2 million years ago, Van Roosmalen said.
Find the full article at Physorg.com
The following is copied directly from EurekAlert.org:
Contact: Michael W. Neff
American Society for Horticultural Science
LAS CRUCES, New Mexico — Researchers at New Mexico State University recently discovered the world’s hottest chile pepper. Bhut Jolokia, a variety of chile pepper originating in Assam, India, has earned Guiness World Records’ recognition as the world’s hottest chile pepper by blasting past the previous champion Red Savina. In replicated tests of Scoville heat units (SHUs), Bhut Jolokia reached one million SHUs, almost double the SHUs of Red Savina, which measured a mere 577,000.
Dr. Paul Bosland, Director of the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University’s Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences collected seeds of Bhut Jolokia while visiting India in 2001. Bosland grew Bhut Jolokia plants under insect-proof cages for three years to produce enough seed to complete the required field tests. “The name Bhut Jolokia translates as ‘ghost chile,’” Bosland said, “I think it’s because the chile is so hot, you give up the ghost when you eat it!” Bosland added that the intense heat concentration of Bhut Jolokia could have significant impact on the food industry as an economical seasoning in packaged foods.
The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortScience electronic journal web site: http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/42/2/222
Founded in 1903, the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) is the largest organization dedicated to advancing all facets of horticultural research, education, and application. Society website – ashs.org
October 4, 2007 From BBC News
A previously unknown indigenous group living in isolation has been found deep in Peru’s Amazon jungle, a team of ecologists has said. The ecologists spotted the 21 Indians near the Brazilian border as they flew overhead looking for illegal loggers.
The group was photographed and filmed from the air on the banks of the Las Piedras River in Peru’s south-eastern Amazon region.
A government official who was on the flight said there were three palm huts on the river bank.
“We’ve found five other sites with this kind of shelter along the same river,” Ricardo Hon told Associated Press news agency.
Get more info from the original article at BBC News.–While you’re there, make a point to check out the links to other articles about Peruvian Indians in the news. The links can be found at the top of the right-hand column.
Find an INCREDIBLE resource for information on Native Amazonian tribes (including maps, photos*, videos, illustrations of different ceremonies- like the ‘Poison Frog Ceremony’- and MUCH more!) at Amazon-Indians.org, Matses.info, and Amazonz.info.
*please be aware that there is ‘National Geographic’ style nudity in the photos at these sites. These are native Natives.
Photo credit: Amazon-Indians.org, with many thanks! The Indians pictured are of the Matis tribe, of theYavarí Valley in Brazil. They bear many cultural and linguistic similarities to other tribes in Peru. You can find out more about that at the site.
Excerpt from an
article at KJCT8News
” High up on the Mesa, in the Grand Valley town of Collbran, a tiny four legged wonder sticks close to its mothers side. It is the latest addition to the ranch owned by Larry and Laura Amos. But this is a once-in-a-million, genetically impossible occurrence of a mule giving birth.
The mother of this beauty, is named Kate. She is a mule. Mules are a hybrid of two species, a female horse and a male donkey. Breeding the two results in a species with 63 chromosomes. A horse has 64, a donkey has 62. A mule can’t reproduce because you need an even number of chromosomes to divide into pairs.
This little wonder came into the world in late April to the shock of the Amos family. Doting mother Kate has no idea what she has accomplished.”
Read more of this article here.
Read the original story at Mules and More.
Thanks to flamencohorse for the scoop!
From an article at
Science in Africa:
“South African Marine biologist Professor Charles Griffith from the University of Cape Town has chalked up the discovery of over 100 new species in his career. These include a new genus of freshwater shrimp, Mathamelita, named after his son Matthew, and a new family of seaslugs, Lemindidae named by his wife after their daughter Melinda – indeed a real family affair! His most recent find is larger meat though: a new giant species of spiny lobster, Palinurus barbarae (Decapoda Palinuridae) from Walters Shoals on the Madagascar Ridge.
Only three new lobster species have been identified in the past 12 years, worldwide. These beauties weigh in at up to 4kgs [*] and were discovered accidentally, when a Spanish fishing vessel working in the Indian Ocean docked in Durban and applied for a permit to export their lobster catch to Europe. …” continued…