New Species

Thought to have been extinct for more than 100 years, little marsupial is rediscovered in Australia

Thought to have been extinct for more than 100 years, little marsupial is rediscovered in Australia

Lazarus Species, Mammals, Nature Thriving December 27, 2017 at 11:58 pm

The Australian crest-tailed mulgara, a tiny marsupial was long thought to be extinct, was found during recent scientific monitoring in Sturt National Park, New South Wales, Australia. The animal had not been seen or studied for over a century.  “The Crest-tailed Mulgara was once widely distributed across sandy desert environments in inland Australia, but declined due to the effects of rabbits, cats, and foxes,” said UNSW scientist and Wild Deserts ecologist Dr. Rebecca West.

The Giant Pacific Octopus Has Been Two Species All Along

The Giant Pacific Octopus Has Been Two Species All Along

Invertebrates, New Species December 27, 2017 at 11:25 pm

The Giant Pacific octopus, the largest known octopus on the planet, is in fact two different species. An Alaskan researcher has discovered that some of the animals once classified as giant Pacific Octopus – the largest known octopus, ranging from California to Alaska to Japan—may actually be a new species.  The new species has distinct morphological features as well as genetic profile.  Though not yet formally named, the new species has been given the common name “frilled Giant Pacific octopus”.  

Just poot it.  California Academy of Sciences scientist Lauren Esposito talks about discovering new species.

Just poot it. California Academy of Sciences scientist Lauren Esposito talks about discovering new species.

Species Discovery December 20, 2017 at 10:58 pm

Lauren Esposito is essentially the Indiana Jones of arachnology. Experience her process for discovering new species first-hand on this trip to Penang in Malaysia.

Majestic, massive tree species discovered in Brazil

Majestic, massive tree species discovered in Brazil

New Species, Plants December 16, 2017 at 1:02 pm

Kew scientists, in collaboration with researchers from Brazil and Canada, have discovered one of the largest trees in the world.  The tree grows to a whopping 40 metres with an estimated weight of up to 62 tonnes, according to authors, likely making it the world’s heaviest living organism.  (Editor’s note: redwoods have been measured over 2,000 tons).  It is as tall as a 12 story building and as heavy as a sperm whale.  Dinizia jueirana-facao, was discovered in the Reserva Natural Vale, in the Brazilian state of Espirito Santo, an area of 22,000 hectares of pristine Atlantic Forest, the largestRead More

A New Species of Antbird, named for E O Wilson

A New Species of Antbird, named for E O Wilson

Birds, Celebrity Taxa, New Species December 16, 2017 at 12:06 pm

A new species of antbird, discovered in 2016 in Northern Peru, has been named for E.O. Wilson in recognition of his lifetime contribution to scientific discovery and conservation.  Known from just one mountain ridge, the species is threatened by clearance of forest for sun-coffee farming.

‘Extinct’ cave frog rediscovered in Zimbabwe

‘Extinct’ cave frog rediscovered in Zimbabwe

Amphibians, Lazarus Species December 13, 2017 at 10:51 pm

(Reports first published Jan 2017)  A very viable population of frogs not seen for 54 years has been found again, atop Zimbabwe’s Chimanimani Mountains, by researchers from Zimbabwe’s Natural History Museum..  The species inhabits caves and grasslands in the area. They are believed to undergo direct development, skipping the tadpole stage and hatching from their eggs as fully formed, miniature adults.

New species of silky anteaters

New species of silky anteaters

Mammals, New Species December 11, 2017 at 11:22 am

Silky anteaters were once thought to comprise a single species, but researchers have now determined that the population is made up of seven unique species.  Researchers went on 10 expeditions in Brazil and Suriname in search of silky anteaters over a decade, and scoured natural history museums, collecting DNA samples from 33 wild anteaters and anatomical information collected from 280 museum specimens.  Three new species are named.

Unprecedented top-to-bottom survey reveals new species in Malaysian rainforest

Unprecedented top-to-bottom survey reveals new species in Malaysian rainforest

This fall, the California Academy of Sciences partnered with The Habitat Penang Hill and colleagues to conduct a top-to-bottom rainforest survey of biodiversity on Malaysia’s island state of Penang,.  Over the course of two weeks the international team of 117 scientists discovered several species previously unknown to science—including a new species of ghost scorpion, living just miles from a major metropolis.   From-the-field updates were broadcast digitally by JASON Learning to classrooms around the world and over 1,400 species observations were logged on the nature-tracking mobile app iNaturalist..    A new-to-science scorpion discovered on Penang Hill.  Photo: Phil Torres/bioGraphic

Citizen science discovery adventure in Borneo yields six new species of beetles

Citizen science discovery adventure in Borneo yields six new species of beetles

Citizen Science, Insects, New Species, Species Discovery December 7, 2017 at 2:47 pm

Taxon Expedition‘s first field course to the remote 30-kilometre-wide Maliau Basin in Malaysian Borneo, yielded six new species of leaf litter beetle.  Citizen scientists on the expedition discovered these species during a field exercise employing the method of ‘Winkler extraction’. Using this technique, dead leaves are collected from the rainforest floor before being sieved, so that hundreds of tiny soil-dwelling insects can be revealed.  The participants of the expedition named each of the new species.  The Taxon Expeditions concept involves ten days of lectures and workshops in a well-equipped field research centre, during which the citizen scientists are trained in basic field and lab.Read More

New gecko lives on the beach

New gecko lives on the beach

New Species, Reptiles December 7, 2017 at 1:08 am

Lepidodactylus pantai is a new species of gecko from the Kei Islands, Maluku, Indonesia that is closely associated with intertidal habitats.

A karst loving gecko from New Guinea revealed.  Locals don’t like them at all.

A karst loving gecko from New Guinea revealed. Locals don’t like them at all.

New Species, Reptiles December 7, 2017 at 12:48 am

The incredible eyes are adapted to the limestone landscape in which this new species thrives.  Authors combine morphological and genetic data to test whether a newly discovered gecko from an extremely rugged karst area in New Guinea shows morphological trends matching those observed in other lizards associated with complex rock habitats such as karst and caves. Consistent with predictions, the new species’ head is flatter and narrower than similar-sized relatives, and it has proportionally larger eyes and longer limbs.  The new gecko is given the local name for these kinds of lizards.  For some reason several local people including experienced hunters,Read More

A new species of rock gecko from Belitung Island, Indonesia

A new species of rock gecko from Belitung Island, Indonesia

New Species December 7, 2017 at 12:38 am

A new species of rock gecko of the genus Cnemaspis Strauch is described from Belitung Island, Indonesia, based on morphological features.

A new species of Cyrtodactylus gecko from the central highlands of Vietnam

A new species of Cyrtodactylus gecko from the central highlands of Vietnam

New Species, Reptiles December 7, 2017 at 12:28 am

A new species of the genus Cyrtodactylus from Gia Lai Province, Central Highlands of Vietnam. There has been an enormous increase in the number of new species of the genus Cyrtodactylus recently described from Southeast Asia and the Oceanian region, resulting in a total of at least 90 currently recognized species (Ngo & Bauer 2008).

A new species of gecko endemic to the Eastern Ghats, India

A new species of gecko endemic to the Eastern Ghats, India

New Species, Reptiles December 6, 2017 at 11:48 pm

A new species of gecko was found in the Eastern Ghats in northern Andhra Pradesh, India.  This is the third vertebrate endemic to the Mahendragiri Range, highlighting the significance of this topographically complex region.  The new species was earlier misidentified as the spotted rock gecko (Hemidactylus maculatus) – a large-bodied lizard, endemic to the northern Western Ghats in Maharashtra.  However, after studying its DNA, the authors found that the two species have geographically separated populations that deeply divergent from each other, and morphological characters showed that the new species has many unique, diagnostic characters.  

Legless lizard discovered in Brazil, deemed critically endangered

Legless lizard discovered in Brazil, deemed critically endangered

New Species, Reptiles December 5, 2017 at 10:32 am

After reviewing major herpetological collections conducting fieldwork for more than 2 decades in Brazil, researchers came across a new species of legless lizard.  The authors propose a “Critically Endangered” extinction risk classification should be officially assessed and given to the new species.    

A worm lizard from Malaysia

A worm lizard from Malaysia

New Species, Reptiles December 5, 2017 at 10:10 am

A new species of worm lizard is described from the central highlands of Peninsular Malaysia.  This new member of a little-known and highly illusive genus of legless lizard which first looked like a ‘particularly scaly earthworm’ caught the author’s eye which turned out to be of a new species of worm lizard.  As stated by the author, “a joyful reminder to always take a closer look!”.

A new species of Tropical Burnet Moth from Texas

A new species of Tropical Burnet Moth from Texas

Insects, New Species December 5, 2017 at 9:22 am

Tropical Burnet Moths, Lacturidae are small-to-medium sized Moths with wingspans of 11-65 mm, and tend to be cream in colour with orange, red and yellow patterns.  Seventeen species are known from North and Central America, though all of these are rather similar in general appearance.  Larvae of the new species are greenish with red stripes and yellow spots, and are found on the leaves of the Gum Bully bush, Sideroxylon lanuginosum, with flying adults observed in April and May and larvae taking a year to mature.  

New families, genera and species of sea slugs, some from the Arctic Ocean, and one that lives near the North Pole

New families, genera and species of sea slugs, some from the Arctic Ocean, and one that lives near the North Pole

Invertebrates, New Species December 4, 2017 at 5:10 pm

Rarely seen sea slugs from the Arctic reveal 3 new families, 16 new genera & 13 new species described based on novel material.

A new species of mountain stream snake, from China

A new species of mountain stream snake, from China

New Species, Reptiles December 4, 2017 at 4:40 pm

A new species of natricine snake of the Southeast Asia.

A new species of the chocolate family discovered roadside in New Guinea

A new species of the chocolate family discovered roadside in New Guinea

New Species, Plants November 30, 2017 at 11:02 am

Martin Cheek of Kew Gardens describes a recent research trip to New Guinea, where a team of Kew scientists stumbled upon a new species on the roadside.  It is a new species of Seringia (recent revision includes Keraudrenia), a species of the chocolate family (Byttneriaceae or Malvaceae-Byttnerioideae), and the first record of the genus from both New Guinea and South-East Asia.