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Wed, 21 Nov 2018
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Animals

Frog

Ten new amphibian species discovered in Colombia

Image
© REUTERS/Marco Rada-Conservation International Colombia/Handout
An undated handout image shows a glass frog of the Nymphargus genus, which is potentially new to science, that was discovered in the mountains of the Darien region in Colombia. Ten new species of amphibians -- including three kinds of poisonous frogs and three transparent-skinned glass frogs -- have been discovered in the mountains of Colombia, conservationists said on February 2, 2009.

Ten new species of amphibians -- including three kinds of poisonous frogs and three transparent-skinned glass frogs -- have been discovered in the mountains of Colombia, conservationists said Monday.

With amphibians under threat around the globe, the discovery was an encouraging sign and reason to protect the area where they were found, said Robin Moore, an amphibian expert at the environmental group Conservation International.

The nine frog species and one salamander species were found in the mountainous Tacarcuna area of the Darien region near Colombia's border with Panama.

Ladybug

Riddle of Liberian insect plague

A devastating plague of caterpillars ravaging part of West Africa is not armyworms, as previously believed, but an unidentified species, experts say.

A UN emergency co-ordinator told the BBC the insects in Liberia and Guinea were very different from armyworms.

He said experts had noted the insect has distinct feeding patterns, life cycle, habits, movement and appearance.

Specialists are studying the pest to find a way of controlling the swarm, which has affected 400,000 residents.

Frog

Many New Species Discovered In Hidden Mozambique Oasis With Help Of Google Earth

Chamelon
© Julian Bayliss/Kew
Scientific surveying Mount Mabu -- Mozambique - found a wealth of wildlife including Pygmy Chamelons.
Space may be the final frontier, but scientists who recently discovered a hidden forest in Mozambique show the uncharted can still be under our noses. BirdLife were part of a team of scientists who used Google Earth to identify a remote patch of pristine forest. An expedition to the site discovered new species of butterfly and snake, along with seven Globally Threatened birds.

The team were browsing Google Earth - freely available software providing global satellite photography - to search for potential wildlife hotspots. A nearby road provided the first glimpses of a wooded mountain topped by bare rock. However, only by using Google Earth could the scientists observe the extent of woodland on the other side of the peak. This was later discovered to be the locally known, but unmapped, Mount Mabu. Scientific collections and literature also failed to shed light on the area.

Ladybug

Feds apologize but insist birds had to be poisoned

Blame it on the Bard.

Hundreds of birds that dropped dead on Somerset County cars, porches and snow-covered lawns, alarming residents over the weekend, were all of a rather foul breed of fowl -- the notorious European starling, which the United States Department of Agriculture killed on purpose.

The starling, a prominent figure in Shakespeare's "Henry IV," has become a royal nuisance in North America. They have been invading farms and pushing out native wildlife since a New York City group infatuated with the playwright released about 100 imported starlings in Central Park in 1890 and 1891.

It was part of an ill-conceived plan by the American Acclimatization Society to make European immigrants feel at home by filling America with all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare's works.

Fish

South Aftrica: A shark in our river? Dead right for the ecosystem

Cape Town - Cool-headed Witsand residents have accepted their toothy marine neighbour with some pride and are not about to be scared away from their beloved Breede River by any shark, big or small, they say.

Witsand hit the headlines this week when a four-metre female Zambezi shark, heavily pregnant with at least four pups, was caught 5,5km upriver from the fishing village.

Locals said they were more amazed than frightened at the appearance of the shark, estimated to weigh about 650kg.

Telescope

Mature Arctic Ivory Gull spotted In Massachusetts for first time in over a century

The temperatures were in the single digits, but not low enough to keep the gawkers away. A celebrity was in town, behind the East Bay Grille, a visitor not seen in these parts in decades, if not longer.

But these weren't paparazzi, and this wasn't a Hollywood star. Rather, they were avid birdwatchers - about 20 in all - braving the frigid air as they scanned the bay and the edges of the breakwater with binoculars and spotting scopes.
Ivory Gull
© Greg Derr/The Patriot Ledger
An ivory gull, a native of the Arctic, has been attracting bird watchers from across New England to Plymouth Harbor.

Bizarro Earth

Caterpillar plague strikes west Africa

A throng of crop-eating caterpillars is threatening food supplies across west Africa, and could prove hard to control with pesticides. The crawling menace has appeared in northern Liberia, where hundreds of millions of the black larvae are devouring plants, fouling wells with their faeces and even driving farmers from fields.

They are now crossing into neighbouring Guinea, and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warns that in two to three weeks they will turn into moths that can fly hundreds of kilometres and could spread across west Africa, worsening food shortages in the region.

"The species is so far unknown," FAO entomologist Winfred Hammond told New Scientist from Accra in Ghana, where Liberian specimens were being flown for analysis.

Butterfly

New Species of Babbler Bird Discovered in China

Bab Bird
© AP Photo/Birdtour Asia, James Eaton, HO
A Nonggang babbler is seen in southwestern China's Guangxi in December 2008. A new species of the fist-sized, babbler bird has been found in network of underground caves in China, raising the prospect the country could become a hot spot for other new discoveries, a conservation group said Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009.
A new species of the fist-sized babbler bird has been found in a network of underground caves in southwestern China, raising the prospect the country could become a hot spot for other new discoveries, a conservation group said Thursday.

Ornithologists Zhou Fang and Jiang Aiwu first spotted the dark brown bird with white specks on its chest in 2005 and have since confirmed its identity as an undescribed species. They named it the Nonggang babbler, or Stachyris nonggangensis, for the region in China where it was found.

A formal description was published last year in The Auk, which is the quarterly journal of the Virginia-based American Ornithologists' Union.

"This is exciting evidence that there could be many more interesting discoveries awaiting ornithologists in China," said Birdlife International's Nigel Collar, which announced the discovery.

Question

US: Hundreds of dead birds found in Somerset County

Franklin Township, New Jersey - Residents in Somerset County's Franklin Township have a mystery on their hands.

Hundreds of dead birds have been falling onto people's homes and cars across the southern part of the township.

Homeowner Andrea Kipec tells the Courier News of Bridgewater that she's counted more than 150 dead birds on her property. She's been told by local officials it's her responsibility to clean them up.

Info

US: Disease shows up in area bat colony

A week before Christmas, DeeAnn Reeder and her colleague Greg Turner made a discovery in a cave in Mifflin County. A handful of bats hibernating for winter had the tell-tale sign of white-nose syndrome, a mysterious condition killing off colonies in the northeast.

The discovery of the white fungus confirmed what state, federal and academic researchers have suspected would happen: White-nose syndrome has arrived in Pennsylvania after being detected in New York and Vermont.