Tag: unusual species

Photos: The Glamorous New Species of Papua New Guinea

By Eliza Strickland | October 6, 2010 2:46 pm

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A Toothy Bird With a 17-Foot Wingspan Once Ruled the Air

By Eliza Strickland | September 16, 2010 1:52 pm

big-birdHere’s a new creature for the record books. In Chile, paleontologists have found the fossilized remains of a huge, toothy bird whose wingspan stretched 17 feet across. That means the bird, Pelagornis chilensis or “huge pseudoteeth,” had one of the longest wingspan ever recorded–a wingspan that was about as long as a giraffe is high.

This newly named species belongs to a group known as pelagornithids, birds that had bony tooth-like projections and long beaks. The well-preserved fossil that researchers turned up belonged to a bird that weighed about 64 pounds and had relatively light, thin-walled bones, according to the description published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. It cruised the skies between 5 and 10 million years ago.

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Meet Concavenator, the Humpbacked Dinosaur

By Eliza Strickland | September 8, 2010 2:57 pm

From Ed Yong

Dinosaur bodies are covered in all sorts of spikes, horns, plates that were used for defence, combat and identification. But sometimes, these body parts are so bizarre that their purpose is a mystery.  The latest in these strange projections belongs to Concavenator, a new giant predator with two spikes sticking up from the vertebrae just in front of its hips. They would probably have given the dinosaur a strange hump on its back.

Read the rest of this post at Not Exactly Rocket Science.

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Image: Raúl Martín


How Many Tiny Frogs Can Dance on the Tip of a Pencil?

By Andrew Moseman | August 25, 2010 3:21 pm

TinyfrogBehold its minute majesty.

The micro frog’s moniker is Microhyla nepenthicola. It grows to just a half-inch long or less. It lives in pitcher plants, and it’s the smallest Old World frog species ever found. (The only smaller frog in the entire world is found in Cuba.)

Dr Indraneil Das of the Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation at the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak said the sub-species had originally been mis-identified in museums. “Scientists presumably thought they were juveniles of other species, but it turns out they are adults of this newly-discovered micro species,” he said [Reuters].

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Gallery: 10 Bizarre New Species Spotted in the Ocean Depths

By Andrew Moseman | July 7, 2010 1:46 pm
Bathypelagic ctenophore
Trachymedusa - ? Crossota sp.
Enteropneust (Acorn worm)
Basket Star - Gorgonocephalus sp.
Holothurian - Peniagone diaphana
Amperima sp
Holothurian - Peniagone porcella
Polynoid polychaete

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Photo Gallery

Fake Love Pheromone Lures Invasive Vampire Fish to Their Doom

By Nina Bai | January 22, 2009 6:10 pm

lampreyThe trick to controlling invasive blood-sucking sea lampreys—sometimes known as vampire fish—may be a love pheromone, according to a new study. Researchers have designed a synthetic version of the male lamprey pheromone that ovulating female lampreys find irresistible, and could be used to lure them into traps. This would be the first instance of using pheromones to control non-insect pests. “There’s been extensive study of pheromones in animals and even in humans,” said lead researcher Weiming Li… “But most researchers have presumed that as animals get more complex, their behaviour is regulated in a more complex way, not by just one pheromone,” [BBC News].

When Li’s team placed traps laced with the synthetic pheromone in a stream, female lampreys swam eagerly towards the trap. Only a whiff of the pheromone was needed to attract females from hundreds of meters away, the researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The pheromone is expensive to synthesize… But only a very small amount is needed for it to work successfully. It’s very potent. Only a few hundred grams, less than a pound, would be used each year” [LiveScience] said Li, who discovered the natural lamprey pheromone in 2002. Currently, lampreys are controlled mainly by adding TFN, a compound that kills the larval stage, to freshwater streams where lampreys spawn. But there are environmental concerns about adding the chemical to streams, as well as the possibility that lampreys could develop resistance to TFN [LiveScience].

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Living World

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