June 2011

New Species of New Guinea

Over a thousand new species have been discovered in this tropical ecosystem in the past 15 years


Scientists have found some new critters on the world's largest tropical island. 1,060 new critters, to be exact, all discovered between 1998 and 2008. New Guinea may be just an island but it boasts the biological diversity of an entire continent. And a lot of that biological diversity looks as though God has been doodling all over it with highlighter pens while daydreaming in class.


The tropical fish that populate the fresh water and surrounding ocean of the island display some of the more incredible coloration, but scientists have also discovered a lizard that looks like a Lite Brite. On the warm-blooded side of things, New Guinea has the highest diversity of tree-dwelling marsupials. A total of 38 different species includes one wide-eyed fellow, the Blue Eyed Spotted Cuscus. There's also some bird that looks like a splotchy orange and black turkey with neon eye waddles. Oh, and there's a bat that sort of looks like Yoda from Star Wars, if Yoda were a bit furrier and had really long nostrils (the ears and the smug expression are spot-on, though).