New Species

‘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.

Large wolf spider from Madagascar named for the albino direwolf Ghost, from the Game of Thrones

Large wolf spider from Madagascar named for the albino direwolf Ghost, from the Game of Thrones

Arachnids, Celebrity Taxa, New Species November 30, 2017 at 10:34 am

A large white species of wolf spider, Ocyale ghost Jocque M. & Jocqué R. sp. nov. is described from a white sandy beach of an inland freshwater lake in the northwest of Madagascar. The first photos of a living specimen of the genus Ocyale are provided together with some observations on the biology of the newly described species. Wolf Spiders, Lycosidae, are large, active Spiders that do not build webs, ambushing animals that passes close to their burrows or actively seeking out and chasing down prey. They have large prominent eyes, and a habit of carrying their eggs in a sack on their abdomens.

Fun with taxa: stories behind some funny and odd names for species discovered in Colombia

Fun with taxa: stories behind some funny and odd names for species discovered in Colombia

Celebrity Taxa November 30, 2017 at 10:13 am

Many species are discovered every year in this mega-diverse country, and scientists are resorting to more fun and recognisable names when classifying them, such as the Puya loca (Crazy Pineapple) and Allobates niputidea (no fucking idea Frog).    

A wasp-mimicking moth

A wasp-mimicking moth

Insects, New Species November 29, 2017 at 10:45 am

A wasp-mimicking clearwing moth from the Malaysia peninsula has been filmed and described for the first time.

A 130-Year-Old Specimen Brought Back to Life

A 130-Year-Old Specimen Brought Back to Life

Insects, Lazarus Species November 29, 2017 at 10:29 am

A moth has been observed and filmed for the first time in its natural habitat, 130 years since only specimen was collected.  A clearwing moth known only from a single specimen from 1887 (which is is missing important morphological features), was observed and filmed for the first time in its natural habitat.   The moth’s known ecosystem is vanishing rapidly due to extensive human activity.  The authors recently filmed and described a new wasp-mimicking clearwing moth from the same area.

The deepest known fish in the ocean

The deepest known fish in the ocean

Fish, New Species November 29, 2017 at 9:35 am

The recently discovered Mariana snailfish has been named the deepest known fish in the ocean.  It thrives at depths of around 8,000 meters (26,000 feet) along the Mariana Trench near Guam. It is a small scaleless and translucent fish.  In a series of dives in 2014 and 2017, a small team of researchers from the U.S. and U.K. dropped special traps into the depths of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean in order to catch the fish at the extreme depths.  The traps—equipped with specialist cameras—emerged with incredible footage of the new species, as well as 37 other fish over the courseRead More