News in Nature

Song experiments reveal many possible new tropical bird species

Song experiments reveal many possible new tropical bird species

Birds, Evolution, Science News, Species Discovery September 13, 2017 at 9:27 am

Researchers from the University of British Columbia and Cornell University compared two methods–analysis in the lab and experiments in the field–for 72 pairs of related but geographically separated bird populations in Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador.  The new study shows that pairs of birds that failed to recognize each other are currently categorized as members of the same species, suggesting that current taxonomy does not reflect actual bird behavior when it comes to song.  The researchers propose that 21 such pairs should be recognized as separate species based on song discrimination and that playback experiments should be the standard forRead More

Started as a hobby, photographer has documented the discovery of 56 new species

Started as a hobby, photographer has documented the discovery of 56 new species

For Robert Whyte, snapping a photo of an unusual spider has eventually led him to his dream job.

A fluorescent frog!

A fluorescent frog!

Amphibians, News in Nature March 18, 2017 at 9:46 am

Scientists believe they may have discovered a first in the animal kingdom – a fluorescent frog that emits a bright, colorful glow once exposed to ultraviolet light. The South American polka dot tree frog appeared as a common-looking frog to the researchers, but when they analyzed the amphibian closely, they discovered that when placed under an ultraviolet light it glows in a bright blue-green light.   Hyloin, molecules in the animals’ lymph tissue, skin and glandular secretions were responsible for the green fluorescence.  Hyloin appears to be a unique mechanism of fluorescence in animals.  

The Hermit Crab Caterpillar

The Hermit Crab Caterpillar

Citizen Science, Insects, New Species, Species Discovery January 25, 2017 at 12:45 pm

A caterpillar that was recently discovered in Peru exhibits a behavior previously unknown in caterpillars.  The critter was spotted by Dr. Joe Hanson, the creator and host of the YouTube channel “It’s OK to be Smart.” Hanson, along with entomologist Aaron Pomerantz and guide Pedro Lima, were filming in the Peruvian Amazon when they came across the creature. The caterpillar turned into a Cicinnus moth. Is this also a caterpillar carrying its own house?

With students’ help a tiny parasitic crab is discovered

With students’ help a tiny parasitic crab is discovered

Citizen Science, Crustaceans, New Species, Species Discovery January 24, 2017 at 5:31 pm

During a 2014 Solomon Islands expedition, students studying biodiversity placed a biocube on a portion of the reef off of Njari Island that contained a large chunk of dead coral. “The students extracted the cube, brought it back to the boat and took it apart,” explains Chris Meyer, Natural History Museum mollusk expert and a principal researcher with Biocube.

One of the rarest species on Earth

One of the rarest species on Earth

Plants, Species Update January 24, 2017 at 4:08 pm

Update re: the 2016 discovery of Melicope tree species in Hawaii (see story). Discoverers from the Botany Dept of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History say Melicope oppenheimeri “ranks among the rarest species on this planet”.  The tree is known today from only 3 wild specimens on an isolated cliff-base plateau in West Maui’s upper Waihe‘e Valley. Seven wild specimens first drew the attention of botanists in 1998. Four have since died.  

A new crab genus discovered by a US marine-turned citizen scientist

A new crab genus discovered by a US marine-turned citizen scientist

Celebrity Taxa, Citizen Science, Crustaceans, New Species January 24, 2017 at 2:14 pm

A US marine-turned citizen scientist is honored with the discovery of a new genus of crab, found in Guam.  The tiny crab’s name also refers to the Harry Potter character Professor Severus Snape. Photo: Jose C. E. Mendoza; CC-BY 4.0

A frog discovered with the help of citizen scientists

A frog discovered with the help of citizen scientists

Amphibians, Citizen Science, New Species December 26, 2016 at 6:25 pm

Working with amateur researchers scientists from Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment have discovered a new species of frog, in the southwest coastal region of India.  The frog was first identified through its call, sounding very much like a kingfisher.  The frog belongs to a group known as “skittering frogs,” because of their habit of floating on water and skittering away when disturbed.  

A potentially new species of finch has co-evolved with Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine

A potentially new species of finch has co-evolved with Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine

Birds, Evolution, New Species November 10, 2016 at 12:22 pm

Genetic analysis shows that the South Hills crossbill coevolved with the Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine, a striking example of coevolution driving speciation within perhaps as little as 6000 years.  “This is maybe the best and only clear example of reciprocal adaptation between two species contributing directly to the process of speciation”.

New species of parasitic orchid discovered in Japan

New species of parasitic orchid discovered in Japan

Citizen Science, New Species, Plants, Species Discovery November 7, 2016 at 6:16 pm

Some plant species have abandoned photosynthesis, instead feeding off the roots of host fungi such as mushrooms and mould. These plants are called mycoheterotrophs. A Japanese photographer has discovered a new mycoheterotoph in the lowland laurel forests of Yakushima and named it Lecanorchis tabugawaensis.  Approximately 50 mycoheterotrophs species have been reported in Japan.

Natural History Museums Are Teeming With Undiscovered S…

Natural History Museums Are Teeming With Undiscovered S…

News in Nature, Species Discovery February 8, 2016 at 12:00 am

Main Report: The Atlantic | Category: General | Taxa: | Named for: Other reports:

Citizen Science Reveals Annual Bird Migrations Across Continents

Citizen Science Reveals Annual Bird Migrations Across Continents

Citizen Science, News in Nature January 21, 2016 at 9:55 am

Data-driven animation shows routes for 118 species For the first time, scientists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithologyhave documented migratory movements of bird populations spanning the entire year for 118 species throughout the Western Hemisphere. The study finds broad similarity in the routes used by specific groups of species — vividly demonstrated by animated maps showing patterns of movement across the annual cycle.  

Scientists ID new genus of tree frogs long thought extinct

Scientists ID new genus of tree frogs long thought extinct

Amphibians, Nature Thriving, New Species, Species Discovery January 20, 2016 at 12:00 am

For more than a century, two mysterious tree frog specimens collected by a British naturalist in 1870 and housed at the Natural History Museum in London were assumed to be part of a vanished species, never again found in the wild.  Now, a group of scientists, led by renowned Indian biologist Sathyabhama Das Biju, has rediscovered the frogs and also identified them as part of a new genus – one step higher than a species on the taxonomic ranking.  Not only have they found the frogs in abundance in northeast Indian jungles, they believe they could also be living acrossRead More

Wyoming law against data collection: Protecting ranchers by ignoring the environment.

Wyoming law against data collection: Protecting ranchers by ignoring the environment.

Citizen Science, News in Nature January 14, 2016 at 1:49 am

Source: Wyoming law against data collection: Protecting ranchers by ignoring the environment.

This dog can write his own name.

News in Nature, Science News January 12, 2016 at 11:09 am

This is Jumpy, a super smart dog that knows how to sign his own name.  by trainer Omar von Muller      

Gorilla

Gorilla

Science News August 18, 2015 at 9:23 pm
New carnivorous plant species found on Facebook

New carnivorous plant species found on Facebook

Citizen Science, New Species, Plants, Species Discovery July 29, 2015 at 12:00 am

There’s more to Facebook than just posting selfies – it’s also an important forum for scientific discoveries. The second largest carnivorous plant in the Americas has just become the first plant to be discovered through the social media site. The species were discovered by an orchid grower, Reginaldo Vasconcelos, who posted an image on Facebook in 2012. A year later Paulo Gonella, a plant researcher at the Institute of Biosciences at the University of São Paulo came across the image and realised that it was a new species, a species of sundew.

Amateur Observations Help Predict Vast Bird Migrations 

Amateur Observations Help Predict Vast Bird Migrations 

Citizen Science, News in Nature May 28, 2015 at 10:06 pm

IFScience.  Pine siskins are a North American finch that have long puzzled ornithologists. In astonishing numbers, they will suddenly appear thousands of kilometers away from their normal habitat for a season, before disappearing again for several years. Now, a collaboration between zoologists, climatologists and amateur observers has explained the phenomenon, and possibly given us the tools to predict where they will turn up in the future. The findings could prove important to our understanding of the effects of climate change at high latitudes. OTHER REPORTS: Massive southern invasions by northern birds linked to climate shifts University of Utah News Release  MayRead More

Citizen Scientists Find New Reptile Species in Southern California

Citizen Scientists Find New Reptile Species in Southern California

Citizen Science, News in Nature March 10, 2015 at 4:05 pm

These are examples of a sort of scientific collaboration that have become increasingly common. Scientists work with each other all the time, but more and more they find themselves turning to the public for help. An Indo-Pacific gecko in Glen Yoshida’s Torrance yard | Photo: © Jason Goldman

The discovery of 27 vertebrates fully reveals the unmatched biodiversity in Tanzania

The discovery of 27 vertebrates fully reveals the unmatched biodiversity in Tanzania

Biodiversity, New Species, Species Discovery October 26, 2014 at 12:00 am

Main Report: Phys.org | Journal: Diversity and Distributions Category: Amphibians, Reptiles, General | Taxa: | Named for: Other reports: A study by an international team of scientists coordinatedby Italy’s MUSE – Science Museum updates knowledge on the faunal richness of the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania and Kenya; presents the discovery of 27 new vertebrate species (of which 23 amphibians and reptiles); identifies the drivers of the area’s exception biological importance and advocates for its candidature to the UNESCO’s List of World Heritage Sites.