Thursday, 30 October 2008


I seem to have fallen behind of late in mentioning new species and re-discovered species. So here, thanks largely to “Free your Imagination” is a compilation of some recent discoveries.

The Hairy-nosed Otter (Lutra sumatrana) is the world’s rarest otter species and was thought to be extinct in the 1990s. But a pair were spotted in U Minh Ha National Park, in Vietnam’s Ca Mau province, in March 2008. They have also recently been rediscovered in Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia.

Scientists at the Smithsonian Institution have discovered a new species of bird in Gabon, Africa, that was, until now, unknown to the scientific community. Their findings were published in the international science journal Zootaxa on Aug. 15 2008 The Olive-backed Forest Robin (Stiphrornis pyrrholaemus) was named by the scientists for its distinctive olive back and rump. Adult birds measure 4.5 inches in length and the males have a fiery orange throat and breast, yellow belly, olive back, black feathers on the head and a distinctive white dot on their face in front of each eye. The female is basically similar but less bright.

A tiny frog species thought by many experts to be extinct has been rediscovered alive and well in a remote area of Australia’s tropical north. The 1.5 inch-long Armoured Mistfrog, Litoria lorica, had not been seen since 1991, and many experts assumed it had been wiped out by a devastating fungus that struck northern Queensland state. But two months ago, a doctoral student at James Cook University in Townsville conducting research on another frog species in Queensland stumbled across what appeared to be several Armoured Mistfrogs in a creek.

And another rare frog, the tiny tree frog, Isthmohyla rivularis, has been seen in Costa Rica after 20 years. This species was thought to have become extinct two decades ago, but last year a University of Manchester researcher caught a glimpse of a male in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve.. Now a female has been seen and they are presumed to be breeding.

The world’s smallest snake, Leptotyphlops carlae, averaging just 10cm (4 inches) and as thin as a spaghetti noodle, has been discovered on the Caribbean island of Barbados. The snake, found beneath a rock in a tiny fragment of threatened forest, is thought to be at the very limit of how small a snake can evolve to be. Females produce only a single, massive egg - and the young hatch at half of their adult body weight. The discovery of this new snake, the smallest of the 3,100 known species, is described in the journal Zootaxa.


  1. I'm still deciding whether I have an ambition to see every species of otter!

    It could be quite tricky with these little critters.

  2. No harm in having an ambition - and, who knows, there may be some in captivity in slightly more accessible spots than Cambodian jungles. In fact, I'm sure I've seen some hairy noses quite locally, but perhaps they weren't Otters!


Comments are always welcome.