New Genus! Australian Truffles!

24 July, 2007
amarrendiaoleosamed.jpgJan 07, 2003
From original article at
CSIRO Australia

An Australian scientist has made a discovery which is electrifying world fungal biology – a new truffle genus related to the famous Amanita family, or fairy toadstools.

The Amanita family is famed worldwide for the red and white-spotted toadstools beloved of children’s fairy tales, the lethal Death Cap beloved of tabloid media, and a range of delicious edible fungi beloved of gourmets.

The find, by CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products mycologist Dr Neale Bougher, highlights Australia as one of the richest centers of truffle biodiversity on the planet.

Until Dr Bougher discovered the new fungus in the rejuvenating forest landscape of a former bauxite mine near Perth, WA, no one had ever found a truffle – or underground mushroom – related to Amanita.

“It’s not just a new species. It’s a whole new genus,” he explains. “Scientists have been looking for this round the world for well over a century – and here it is, in Australia.”

Since the original find by Dr Bougher, he and colleague Dr Teresa Lebel of Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens, have identified no fewer than five new species of what has now been scientifically named Amarrendia – a marriage of the names Amanita and Torrendia, the two families of fungi most closely related to the discovery. Read entire article here.

Additional articles at:

The AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) website.

Environment News Service.

News in Science.


New Genus of Conifer in Vietnam

23 July, 2007
fir-2.jpgExcerpts from
UCSC’s Currents online:
January 14, 2002
By Tim Stephens

An unusual conifer found in a remote area of northern Vietnam has been identified as a genus and species previously unknown to science. The limestone ridges where the tree grows are among the most botanically rich areas in Vietnam and certainly harbor many other undescribed species, but they are outside the country’s protected reserves, said Daniel Harder, director of the UCSC Arboretum and a codiscoverer of the new species.


“For us to find a previously undescribed large tree like this indicates that there is probably a lot more to be discovered there,” Harder said. “It’s comparable to the recent discoveries of previously unknown large mammals in Southeast Asia, like the giant muntjac and the saola, a type of ox.”

UC Santa Cruz has the full article with more details and pics here.

Photo:Foliage and cones of the
golden Vietnamese cypress,
X. vietnamensis.

by D. K. Harder

Eight New Orchid Species Found in Papua New Guinea

21 July, 2007
cadetia-newExcerpt from original article published October 18, 2006—-

Scientists from the conservation nonprofit WWF discovered at least eight new species of orchid while surveying previously unexplored forests in the Kikori region on the southern coast of New Guinea’s principal island.


Over the course of three expeditions, the scientists collected some 300 orchid species, 8 of which have been confirmed as new to science, with 20 more still awaiting verification as new varieties.

“There are over 3,000 known species found here with countless varieties undoubtedly yet to be discovered.”

Read the full article and find more photos at National

—Photograph © WWF/Wayne Harris

New Species of Orchid Flirts With Wasps

21 July, 2007
hammerorchidFrom an original article by Christine Dell’Amore
July 17, 2007—

The recently discovered Hammer Orchid has evolved to imitate the appearance of a female wasp. Curious male wasps are lured in to investigate, and when they land on the flower, they unwittingly collect and disperse pollen.
The orchid is one of six new species found in the biologically rich region of southwestern Australia.

…Several of the orchid species are threatened by pressures such as invasive species and illegal harvesting.

Find the complete story at National

Found! 40 New Species in Virgin Brazil Rainforest

30 September, 2006


Excerpts from
by Lewis Smith,
Times Environment Reporter

“Up to 40 new species of plants and animals, including a bird and a tree rat, have been discovered in an expedition to one of the world’s last unspoilt wildernesses.

newfrog_5f200px.jpg Researchers were particularly excited by the bird and the tree rat because new mammal and avian species are extremely rare. The discoveries have yet to be verified by peer review but Enrico Bernard, of Conservation International, is confident that 27 new species have been identified and that several more are contained among the thousands of specimens brought back for analysis.

lagarto_5f200px.jpg Besides the rat and the bird, the new species found include seven fish, eight frogs, lizards and snakes, two
shrimps and eight plants.
One species of lizard, [Amapasaurus tetradactylus], was rediscovered having been seen only twice before, both times in 1970. The lizard is unusual in having four fingers on its claws, whereas it closest relative has three.

“We have confirmed more than 1,700 species, of which more than 100 have been recorded for Amapá for the first time. Perhaps 40 of those are entirely new to science.

Among the creatures already known that were found in the region for the first time were 40 types of bat. Dr Enrico thought this if anything an underestimate. “There are potentially more than 100,” he added.The tree rat, from the genus makalata and the size of a large guinea-pig, lives with monkeys in the trees of the Amazonian tropical forest, where it eats only leaves and fruit.

The authorities in Brazil this week announced that 5.7 million hectares of the region is to be protected as the Amapá State Forest.”

Read the Full Aritcle at Times Online.

Thanks to Nutmeg for the scoop.

Britain Still Discovering New Species…

7 July, 2006

New species discovered in the Cairngorms
A previously unknown insect has been discovered in the Cairngorm mountains, as well as more than 20 plants, invertebrates and fungi species new to Britain.

The tiny black Christii fly (Ectaetia Christii), which measures just 2mm long and lives under the bark of dead aspen trees, was found during research for a new book released today. The book includes details the 223 species mainly found in the Cairngorms and some 1,153 species for which the Cairngorms are nationally important.

“Scotland is famed for the richness of its wildlife and it is remarkable that, given current scientific knowledge, we are still finding new species to add to that wealthy diversity,” said Rhona Brankin, Deputy Minister for Wildlife.

Full article at…

Did scientists find this species just in time? For a very interesting article about the effects global warming is having on the Cairngorms, visit Climate Change Action at for an on-the-scene perspecitve from Calvin Jones.