Thursday, April 4, 2013

March Madness Brought A Plethora of New Species

Being a science nerd, I spend a good deal of time most mornings trolling the science blogs, news outlets, and magazines. Maybe it's just me, but March seemed to be the month for new species to come out of the woods, or whatever habitat they call home. And these aren't just in one area of the globe, but all over the freaking place. Heck, a highway being dug in California even netted us the remains of a new and previously unknown whale species. But, I'm not talking fossils here, people. I'm talking living breathing beings we had no idea existed until now. Isn't that amazing? With all our technology, we are still discovering. So, I give you some new wonders of the earth, ocean, and sky to ponder. Hooray for March Madness.

Photo Courtesy of Avi Klapfer
First, may I introduce a new, and apparently unnamed deep sea jellyfish. This was recorded by the submarine DeepSee while exploring around the island of Desventuradas off the coast of Chile. The discovery is being credited to Enric Sala.

Photo Courtesy of Peter Kappeler
And as usual, Madagascar just keeps turning out the wonders. There are now two new species of Madagascan mouse lemurs on the books. Here you have the Marohita mouse lemur caught on film for the very first time.

Photo Courtesy of Philippe Verbelen
Meet the Rinjani Scops Owl and, okay, I admit, this one is a little bit of a cheat. They've known about this little guy who lives only on Lombok Island, a resort island off the coast of Bali for, like, ten years. It has a very similar species it lives with, and scientists had to have time to verify that this is indeed a different species entirely. As it turns out, this little owl sings an entirely different song. So the truth is in the music. At last, it has been confirmed as it's own species.

Photo Courtesy of Ranil Nanayakkara

And not to leave out the insects, I give you a brand new giant tarantula who just happens to be venomous. Woot. Isn't he gorgeous? From Sri Lanka, it is on average the size of a human face. Wow! This guy lives in the trees of the forest and is now threatened by deforestation. Guess what people, when you cut down their trees, where do you think these babies are going to go? Under the house, perhaps? One more reason to leave their habitat alone, if you ask me. I mean, he's pretty, but I'd prefer he keep to the trees, thanks.

So, there you have it. A few new species making the official science books here and there. There are plenty more where these came from. Can't wait to see what April brings.

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