PH lizard lands on top 10 list of new species | Inquirer News

PH lizard lands on top 10 list of new species

/ 02:36 AM May 25, 2011

WASHINGTON—A Philippine fruit-eating lizard measuring 1.8 meters (6 feet) in length was among the top 10 new species discovered in the world last year, US scientists said on Monday.

Also on the list were a jumping cockroach, a glow-in-the-dark fungus, a rust-eating bacterium, a leech named “T-rex.”

The creatures were discovered in the Philippines, Brazil, Madagascar, South Africa, Peru, West Africa, the US state of Oregon, Mascarene Islands in the Indian Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and North Atlantic Ocean.


The top 10 list was compiled by global experts and released annually by the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) at Arizona State University.


The Philippine fruit-eating lizard, which weighs 10 kg (22 pounds), can only be found living on trees in the Sierra Madre forest on Luzon island.

The lizard, which is brightly colored with stripes of gold flecks, has “a scaly body and legs that are blue-black mottled with pale yellow-green dots and a tail marked in alternating segments of black and green,” the IISE said.

‘Tyrant leech king’

The leech named after a ferocious meat-eating dinosaur was removed from a man’s nose in Peru.

While the leech measures less than 5 centimeters (2 inches) long, its powerful jaw and massive teeth earned it the name Tyrannobdella rex, which means “tyrant leech king.”

Scientists in Canada and Spain identified the iron-oxide munching bacterium from a section of the Titanic which sank deep into the Atlantic Ocean in 1912 after striking an iceberg.


“Researchers believe this bacterium could be useful in the disposal of old ships and oil rigs that lie deep in the ocean,” the IISE said in a statement.

The IISE said minuscule mushrooms in the forests of Sao Paulo, Brazil, were found to “glow constantly, emitting a bright, yellowish-green light,” becoming one of the around 70 species of fungi in the world known to be bioluminescent.

Legs for jumping

A cockroach that mimics a grasshopper in its jumping ability was detected in South Africa.

The Saltoblattella montistabularis has legs specially made for jumping, a stabilizing antenna and round eyes at the sides of its head.

A raspy cricket, Glomeremus orchidophilus, found in the Mascarene Archipelago in the Indian Ocean was discovered to be the only creature that pollinates a rare orchid, Angraecum cadetii.

Scientists in the northwestern state of Oregon found an unusual mushroom thriving under the chilly waters of the Rogue River.

Darwin’s Bark Spider

And a spider that can weave its web—with silk twice as strong as any spider known to man—across the entire width of a river was discovered in Madagascar.

“The webs of Darwin’s Bark Spider have been found spanning rivers, streams and lakes, and in one instance, a web stretched 25 meters (82 feet) across a Madagascar river with at least 30 insects trapped in it,” the IISE said.

Other top selections included a new type of antelope and a pancake batfish—a fish that resembles a walking bat when it moves awkwardly through the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

“Our best guess is that all species discovered since 1758 represent less than 20 percent of the kinds of plants and animals inhabiting planet Earth,” said Quentin Wheeler, an entomologist who directs the IISE.

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“A reasonable estimate is that 10 million species remain to be described, named, and classified before the diversity and complexity of the biosphere is understood,” Wheeler said. AFP

TAGS: new species, science

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