New Snake Species Discovered in Mexican Mountains

A specimen of the new species, Geophis loranca, in life. Photo © Miguel Ángel de la Torre Loranca

Last time we mentioned a new species being discovered, it was also long, thin and reddish, but in the form of a toxic cave worm. The freshly-found reptile, which when translated from its scientific name would be called “Loranca’s earth snake,” is a red and black burrowing animal that is only found in a very localized region of east central Mexico, as the collaborative team of Mexican university researchers wrote in their academic journal article published in ZooKeys:

These burrowing reptiles are seldom encountered and, consequently, have been poorly studied. Furthermore, several species have restricted distribution, making them particularly vulnerable to extinction.

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New Mouse Lemur Species Found

Microcebus ganzhorni is named in honor of the Hamburg ecologist Prof. Jörg Ganzhorn who has worked on ecology and conservation in Madagascar for more than thirty years. Photo by G. Donati via Mongabay.

Madagascar is a place of wonder and near-fantastical wildlife, though sadly many of their ecosystems are at risk, as referenced in this UNESCO World Heritage Site post. So it’s no surprise to read that new species are being found there. Mike Garowecki reports for Mongabay:

There are now 24 known species of mouse lemur, all of them found in Madagascar.

Scientists with the German Primate Center (DPZ), the University of Kentucky, the American Duke Lemur Center, and Madagascar’s Université d’Antananarivo have found three new species of mouse lemurs that live in the South and East of Madagascar. They described the new species — Microcebus boraha, Microcebus ganzhorni, and Microcebus manitatra — in the journal Molecular Ecology.

Though their name and appearance might suggest that they are rodents, mouse lemurs are in fact primates. What’s more, all mouse lemur species look extremely similar: they are small, nocturnal animals with brown fur and large eyes. It was only through the use of advanced methods that allow for more precise measurements of genetic differences that the team of researchers was able to establish the three new species.

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Happy Birthday, Carolus Linnaeus!

Remember Carolus Linnaeus? Go back to high school where you probably heard of taxonomy first; yes, it’s his invention. Well, it was his 308th birthday last week (May 23) and each year, it is celebrated with a list. Of new species discovered the previous year. Scientists found 18,000 new species in 2014, but the top 10 are in a league of their own. How about a spider that cartwheels to escape danger or a frog that gives birth to live tadpoles?

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