60 new species discovered in 'tropical Eden'
A team of field biologists led by Conservation International studied a never-before assessed mountainous region of Southeastern Suriname – a wilderness area with unexplored tracts of rainforest. The expedition documented an amazing richness of biodiversity, including unique species that may exist nowhere else on Earth.
The "cocoa" tree frog (Hypsiboas sp.), like other amphibians, has semi-permeable skin that makes it highly sensitive to changes in the environment, especially climate and water. With over 100 species of frogs likely gone extinct over just the last three decades, the discovery of frog species new to science is especially heartening.
(Copyright Piotr Naskrecki)
The mountains and extensive intact forests of Southeastern Suriname are often shrouded in clouds, and it is one of the wettest areas of the country.
This water beetle not only represents a new species, but also a new genus to science. This species was found living in water seepages on granite mountaintops, and may occur only in southeastern Suriname. The RAP team also found 25 other water beetle species on the expedition that are new to science.
This sleek chocolate-colored "cocoa" frog (Hypsiboas sp.) may be new to science. This species is arboreal, using circular discs on their fingers and toes to adeptly climb into the treetops.
(Stuart V. Nielsen)
This undescribed katydid species (Pseudophyllinae: Teleutini) is so strange that it actually represents an entirely new genus to science. Its unusually long, gangly legs are covered in sharp spines which help to deter predators.
The unusual dorsal coloration of this poison dart frog (Anomaloglossus sp.) differs from a similar species (Anomaloglossus baeobatrachus) found at the same sites, suggesting that it may represent a species new to science. Poison dart frogs are famous for the often powerful toxins they secrete â this poison is used by local people to hunt for food, but also holds enormous potential to yield new medicines.
This interesting catfish species (Parotocinclus sp.), which is potentially new to science, was collected in a tributary of the Upper Palumeu River. It has an unusual pigmentation pattern, similar to Microglanis catfish.
(Sandra J. Raredon, Smithsonian Institution)
The tiny "lilliputian beetle" (Canthidium cf. minimum) probably represents a new species to science, and perhaps even a new genus. At just 2.3 mm long, it may be the smallest dung beetle in the Guiana Shield, and perhaps the second smallest of currently described species in South America. Itsâ antler-like antennae provide an acute sense of smell.
A potentially new species of head-and-taillight tetra (Hemigrammus aff. ocellifer), closely related to a fish much appreciated by aquarium enthusiasts. This is just one of eleven new fish species discovered on the expedition, including a South American darter and a three-barbeled catfish.