Happy Earth Day!  Let’s explore some of the positive developments in our ever-fascinating world.

Earth from spaceMass extinction is an ongoing threat to many species on our planet.  It is a serious and tragic issue.  Ironically, we are also discovering new species every year.  By one count, in 2006, more than 18,000 species were newly described by scientists.   

A literature search revealed at least 70 new species discovered so far this year, including:

  • Waray Dwarf Burrowing Snake (Levitonius mirus) was discovered in the Philippines.
  • A new species of bat (Myotis) with black and yellow/orange wings was found in the Nimba Mountains of West Africa.
  • A previously misidentified lichen has been reclassified as the new Cora timucua. It was previously found in Florida but may be already extinct.
  • Almost 60 new lichens in the genus Leptogium from East Africa, including Mt. Kasigau in Kenya and Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, have been identified.
  • A new chameleon (Trioceros wolfgangboehmei) was discovered on the slopes of the Bale Mountains in Ethiopia.

Each year, the International Institute for Species Exploration publishes a list of the most unusual new species.  Maybe one of these will make the list.  My bet is on the colorful new bat.

Sources:

Snake – https://bioone.org/journals/copeia/volume-108/issue-4/CH2020110/A-New-Miniaturized-Genus-and-Species-of-Snake-Cyclocoridae-from/10.1643/CH2020110.full

Bat – http://digitallibrary.amnh.org/bitstream/handle/2246/7249/N3963.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Florida lichen – https://bioone.org/journals/the-bryologist/volume-123/issue-4/0007-2745-123.4.657/Cora-timucua-Hygrophoraceae-a-new-and-potentially-extinct-previously-misidentified/10.1639/0007-2745-123.4.657.short

East Africa lichen – https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2607/9/2/314

Chameleon – https://zse.pensoft.net/article/57297/

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