Recent Posts

New species of wasp found by college student

New species of wasp found by college student

Insects, New Species, Species Discovery November 28, 2017 at 12:00 pm

University of Maine student Hillary Morin Peterson of Brunsiwck Maine discovered the tiny, non-stinging wasp while conducting work for her undergraduate honors thesis.  Peterson was able to attend a 2015 BioBlitz at Acadia National Park focuse don finding hymenoptra, and by the end of the event she had been offered an internship with The Smithsonian to continue her research.

Blue butterfly has same number of chromosomes as you do

Blue butterfly has same number of chromosomes as you do

Insects, New Species November 28, 2017 at 11:39 am

What looked like a population of a common butterfly species turned out to be a whole new organism, and, moreover – one with a very peculiar genome organisation.  It was found flying over the northern slopes of the Caucasus mountains in southern Russia.

Clean Water, New Fish

Clean Water, New Fish

Fish, New Species November 28, 2017 at 10:31 am

Aquatic biologist Jeff Simmons, who helped discover the fish, named it after the clean, clear waters where it lives, in the The Tennessee River system—the most biologically diverse in North America.  The mere existence of the Tennessee Logperch says something positive about the water quality in this part of the Tennessee Valley—it’s good.   Simmons and colleagues named the new species apina, which in Greek describes things that are clean, or without dirt, referring to the silt-free substrates that it requires.  The fish has been noted as far back as 1971, though it had been previously recognized as a population ofRead More

Two new Andean anoles from southern Ecuador

Two new Andean anoles from southern Ecuador

New Species, Reptiles November 27, 2017 at 10:46 am

Individuals of both new species were collected within a protected area in southern Ecuador, Podocarpus National Park, which suggests that at least some populations of these species are well protected.

New species of Spinifex tastes like ‘Salt and vinegar chips’.  7 other new species described.

New species of Spinifex tastes like ‘Salt and vinegar chips’. 7 other new species described.

New Species, Plants, Species Discovery November 27, 2017 at 10:23 am

West Australian researchers have found and identified eight new species of spinifex, including one they say has the flavour of salt and vinegar-flavoured chips.  “We were doing late night experiments … handling specimens of that species,” Dr Barrett said. “Someone licked their hand at some point and tasted that flavour.”  The native grass is farmed commercially in Queensland to manufacture the world’s strongest, thinnest condoms.  The Triodia genus includes about 120 species.

26 new species of miniature frogs from Madagascar.  Two are delightfully obscene.

26 new species of miniature frogs from Madagascar. Two are delightfully obscene.

Amphibians, Celebrity Taxa, New Species November 27, 2017 at 9:45 am

26 new species of Stumpffia, a genus of small narrow-mouthed frogs endemic to Madagascar, have been described in a single research paper.  The monograph contains a complete revision of the existing 14 species of Stumpffia.   Some of the Stumpffia are are among the smallest frogs in the world; Stumpffia contumelia, measures only 8-9 mm. Due to their extreme miniaturization many species show an extraordinary reduction of their fingers and toes. In some cases only a long middle finger is retained, reminding an insulting gesture — resulting in the delightfully named Stumpffia obscoena.  One of the frogs is named in honor of  Sir David Attenborough.  ThisRead More

A Stunning Dartfish from Japan & Philippines, Named by School Students

A Stunning Dartfish from Japan & Philippines, Named by School Students

Fish, New Species November 27, 2017 at 9:10 am

Kaguya’s dartfish was described from two specimens, one from Japan and another from the Philippines, both collected relatively deep at 24 meters (137 feet) in Japan and 55 meters (180 feet) in the Philippines.   The fish has been known to Japanese divers and researchers since 1994 but is only now formally described. The fish’s name was selected by school students at a climate change workshop at the University of Sydney, from the anime film The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.  The name alludes to the yellow markings of this fish’s dorsal fin, which are said to resemble the graphics from aRead More

Name a new species!

Name a new species!

Arachnids, New Species November 26, 2017 at 2:54 pm

This species of jumping spider was found by researchers on a Bush Blitz species discovery expedition in QLD last year and is totally new to science. The Department of the Environment and Energy is giving Australians the opportunity to be part of scientific history by giving it a name!  Entries close midnight 22 December 2017.  See report earlier this year where this new species and over 60 others were discovered during the bush blitz expedition:  ‘50 New Spiders Discovered in Australia‘. The genus Jotus is part of the jumping spider family (Salticidae). There are only nine species in the genus.  Jumping spiders areRead More

Golden eyed gecko discovered in wild and gruesome locale

Golden eyed gecko discovered in wild and gruesome locale

New Species, Reptiles November 24, 2017 at 1:45 pm

The golden-eyed gecko was known from a single specimen just sitting in the Queensland Museum, but had never been found in the wild.  The new gecko species is found in central Queensland and is thought to be endemic to the Brigalow Belt region. The species name  trux ” is Latin for wild, savage, harsh and pitiless, including instruments of human savagery, and also of the scene of such cruelty. This name was Chosen in reference to the only location known for Strophurus trux sp. nov. It is in the proximity of the “Marlborough stretch”, a section of the old Bruce Highway inRead More

Galapagos finch seen becoming new species

Galapagos finch seen becoming new species

Birds, Evolution, New Species, News in Nature November 24, 2017 at 11:13 am

A population of finches on the Galapagos has been discovered in the process of becoming a new species. In 1981, researchers noticed the arrival of a male of a non-native species on a tiny Galapagos island called Daphne Major.  They noticed that this male, a large cactus finch, proceeded to mate with a female of one of the local species, a medium ground finch, producing fertile young. The researchers then followed the entire population of finches on a tiny Galapagos island called Daphne Major, for thirty-six years, and so were able to watch the speciation in progress. This new finch populationRead More

New Species of Arboreal Lizard, Discovered after Dam Flooding in Amazonas

New Species of Arboreal Lizard, Discovered after Dam Flooding in Amazonas

New Species, Reptiles November 22, 2017 at 3:40 pm

The new species, named Euspondylus excelsum, is arboreal and was discovered when the lizard’s habitat was flooded by a hydroelectric project in the Amazonian slopes of the Andes in Central Peru.  The flooding allowed researchers to access to the canopy of the trees of the area.  Specimens were observed on branches or bromeliads in the canopy that was still above water, suggesting the importance of canopy survey method to properly sample arboreal lizards and other canopy dwelling herpetofauna.

New species of teddy bear bee discovered

New species of teddy bear bee discovered

Insects, New Species November 22, 2017 at 12:32 pm

A NEW species of teddy bear bee (Asarapoda) has been discovered in the small town of Laura, located in the Cape York Peninsula of northern Queensland, during a ‘bush blitz’ of the area.  According to Remko Leijs, a biologist from the South Australian Museum, who discovered the new teddy bear bee, the bee is yet to be named as he is currently conducting a revision of this particular family of bees.

The tricky business of defining new species

The tricky business of defining new species

New Species, News in Nature November 22, 2017 at 10:55 am

What gives an animal — or any living organism — the uniqueness required to be classified as its own species? Scientists can’t agree.

A new flower endemic to Istanbul

A new flower endemic to Istanbul

New Species, Plants November 22, 2017 at 10:52 am

A new endemic species of a flower was discovered in Istanbul.  Scientists found a species that belonged to the Allium genus, but at the same time did not resemble any known kind of the genus.  The newly discovered flower was named ‘Istanbul onion’ (Istanbul soğanı) as its common name.  With the Istanbul onion, the number of plant species endemic to Istanbul has risen to 54.

BioBlitz finds new species of peacock spider

BioBlitz finds new species of peacock spider

Arachnids, Citizen Science, New Species November 22, 2017 at 10:27 am

While on a BioBlitz in the Murrah Flora Reserve on the NSW South Coast, citizen scientist Helen Ranson showed her colleague, Canberra’s renowned “spider man”, Stuart Harris a spider she’d just found.  Mr Harris immediately knew it was a new species.  

Survey reveals more than 30 new species from biodiverse Kaieteur Plateau, Guyana

Survey reveals more than 30 new species from biodiverse Kaieteur Plateau, Guyana

Amphibians, Arachnids, Fish, Insects, New Species November 22, 2017 at 10:20 am

The newly discovered species include more than 30 species new to science, and likely endemic to Guyana, including six species of fish, three plants, a tarantula, a frog, a snake, some dragonflies, plants and beetles.  The month long survey was conducted in Kaieteur National Park (KNP) and the Kaieteur Plateau in Guyana.

Orchid thought to be extinct blooms in a botanical garden

Orchid thought to be extinct blooms in a botanical garden

Lazarus Species November 21, 2017 at 9:24 am

Thought to be extinct for almost eight decades, a rare orchid from the Ogasawara island chain 1000 km south of Tokyo is blooming at a botanical garden.  Discovered on a survey of the island, three bulbs of the unknown plant were taken as samples to Japan national museum’s Tsukuba Botanical Garden to be raised.  People are prohibited from landing on the island,  a World Natural Heritage site, which this may be the reason the rar eorchid has managed to survive.  The last time the species on Chichijima was reported collected was 1938.

Three species of sea slugs identified, one named for Barack Obama

Three species of sea slugs identified, one named for Barack Obama

Celebrity Taxa, Invertebrates, New Species November 20, 2017 at 10:47 am

A team of researchers led by California State University’s Professor Patrick Krug has discovered three cryptic new species of sea slugs.  The three new species were previously considered to be the same as a species known as Placida cremoniana from the Mediterranean.  One of them is named after former U.S. President Barack Obama, to honor his dramatic expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in Hawaii, as well as his administration’s commitment to fighting global climate change.  The two other species are named to honor diver-photographers.  Photographic records and literature reports suggest that additional species may occur in the Indian Ocean, tropical Australia, andRead More

Biologists probably overestimate number of new species

Biologists probably overestimate number of new species

Species Discovery November 16, 2017 at 10:42 am

A recent University of Kansas study published in the peer-reviewed journal Molecular Ecology demonstrates the misuse and abuse of methods scientists commonly use to place boundaries between different species, especially so-called “cryptic” species, could lead to the overestimation of species diversity.

Not just another tequila sunrise

Not just another tequila sunrise

Fish, New Species November 16, 2017 at 10:04 am

A bright fairy basslet known from Micronesia is now described.  This gorgeous, brightly coloured little fish is found in the Ogasawara Islands and the Marianas Islands in the western Pacific Ocean.  Divers have typically encountered this species in depths below 40 meters, and, no doubt, it can be expected quite a bit further down into the mesophotic zone.  See other anthias discovered in recent years.  See video of the Cave anthias in its habitat.  The species name for the new little fish alludes to the bright coloured cocktail tequila sunrise.