May 18

ARKive has been going for 9 years now, and our quest to profile every threatened species is still going strong. But the list of species seems to be ever growing – there have been some incredible species discovered during ARKive’s lifetime. It’s a privilege to be able to showcase some of these on the ARKive website. So just what has been found over the last 9 years?  

2003: Kipunji discovered

Kipunji  (Rungwecebus kipunji)

Kipunji (Rungwecebus kipunji)

A remarkable find in 2003, the kipunji was Africa’s first new monkey discovery in 20 years. Originally named the highland mangabey, the kipunji actually belongs to a whole new genus and is far more closely related to baboons than to mangabeys. The kipunji is endemic to southern Tanzania, and its population is thought to number a mere 1,117 individuals.

 2004: Hawaiian cyanea tree discovered

Hawaiian cyanea tree (Cyanea magnicalyx)

Hawaiian cyanea tree (Cyanea magnicalyx)

This large, tree-like shrub is endemic to Hawaiian island of Maui. Sadly, there were fewer than ten Hawaiian cyanea trees remaining by 2008. In Hawaii it is listed as a “Species of Greatest Conservation Need”, and significant efforts are being made to preserve the remaining individuals.

 2005: Goodman’s mouse lemur discovered

Goodman's mouse lemur (Microcebus lehilahytsara)

Goodman's mouse lemur (Microcebus lehilahytsara)

While ARKive was just getting off its feet, another primate was being added to the species tally. Goodman’s mouse lemur, named after primatologist Steve Goodman, can be found in Madagascan rainforests. Its arboreal and nocturnal nature along with its remote location may explain how this primate managed to keep out of the scientists spotlight for so long.

2006: Kaempfer’s woodpecker rediscovered

Kaempfer’s woodpecker (Celeus obrieni)

Kaempfer’s woodpecker (Celeus obrieni)

Originally known from a specimen collected in 1926, Kaempfer’s woodpecker was rediscovered 80 years later. One of Brazil’s most enigmatic birds, Kaempfer’s woodpecker is only found in Cerrado, a unique tropical woodland-savanna ecosystem. Kaempfer’s woodpecker is suspected to have a highly patchy distribution and a small population size. Its habitat is under threat as around three million hectares of Cerrado are destroyed each year.

2007:  Banggai crow rediscovered

Banggai crow  (Corvus unicolor)

Banggai crow (Corvus unicolor)

Known from only two specimens collected in the 19th Century and with numerous expeditions failing to find it in the 1990’s, the Banggai crow was long presumed extinct. Unconfirmed sightings of the crow gave hope to its continued survival, and in 2007 two Banggai crows were recorded, bringing this species ‘back’ from extinction. However, it remains Critically Endangered – the small numbers recorded indicate a very small population in an area experiencing high rates of habitat loss.

2008: Ayres black uakari discovered

Ayres black uakari  (Cacajao ayresi)

Ayres black uakari (Cacajao ayresi)

Another primate discovered in the 21st Century and our second hidden gem of Brazil is Ayres black uakari. It has been seen only twice in the wild and so very little is known about this elusive species. Its short tail has baffled scientists, as long tails normally help arboreal species like the uakari to keep balance in the treetops.

2009: The David Bowie spider discovered

David Bowie spider  (Heteropoda davidbowie)

David Bowie spider (Heteropoda davidbowie)

The David Bowie spider is a large spider with yellow hair, and is found only in Malaysia. It was discovered and named by German spider expert Peter Jäger. Its celebrity common name has helped draw attention to the spider and the often-overlooked threats to this and many other species of invertebrate.

2010: Beaked toad discovered

Beaked toad  (Rhinella sp. nov.)

Beaked toad (Rhinella sp. nov.)

The beaked toad was one of 3 new discoveries on an expedition to find amphibians in Colombia. Its beaked nose gained this species the name ‘Mr. Burns toad” after the notorious villain from The Simpsons. This species has an unusual lifecycle as it bypasses the tadpole stage, with fully formed toadlets hatching from eggs.

More information on the Search for Lost Frogs campaign can be found on the Conservation International website.

2011: Chalazodes bubble-nest frog rediscovered

Chalazodes bubble-nest frog (Raorchestes chalazodes)

Chalazodes bubble-nest frog (Raorchestes chalazodes)

The Chalazodes bubble-nest frog was last seen in India in 1874. An expedition to find the Lost Amphibians of India uncovered 5 species not seen for decades, including Ramanella anamalaiensis and Micrixalus thampii. Many of these species live in highly degraded habitats and remain at risk of extinction.

2012: Leaf chameleon (Brookesia micra) discovered

Leaf chameleon  (Brookesia micra)

Leaf chameleon (Brookesia micra)

One of the most recent additions to ARKive is the leaf chameleon Brookesia micra. This tiny chameleon is one of the world’s smallest lizards, measuring in at just 29mm. This was one of four new species found during an expedition to northern Madagascar. During the day these minute reptiles disappear into the leaf litter, while they can be spotted at night as they climb up to the branches to sleep. Restricted to a tiny range of one square kilometre, Brookesia micra is an example of extreme island dwarfism. Read more about these tiny discoveries on the BBC Nature website.  

These recent discoveries highlight how much of life on Earth remains unknown. The last 9 years have offered a plethora of new and exciting finds: with so much still to uncover, the next 9 years look to be equally as exciting!

Lauren Pascoe, ARKive Media Researcher

May 17

More amazing photos, videos and texts are added to ARKive every alternate week. Here is a summary of our latest update:

The stats
  • 40 new species
  • 229 new images
  • 61 new videos
What’s new – our favourite new species
San Jose brush rabbit photo

We have added a new profile for the Critically Endangered San Jose brush rabbit


Vences' chameleon photo

We've also added the Endangered Vences' chameleon

What’s new – our favourite new images

Fire coral photo

We've added great new images of the fire coral


Angel’s Madagascar frog photo

We also have new images of the Endangered Angel’s Madagascar frog

What’s new – our favourite new videos

Hummingbird hawkmoth photo

Check out fantastic footage of the Hummingbird hawkmoth feeding


Avocet photo

We've added 8 new videos of the avocet

Get involved!

If you have any photos, footage or species information that you think we should add into ARKive please let us know. There are many ways to get involved with ARKive, from contributing your photos to just spreading the word about us – every little helps!

Full details 

Subscribe to our RSS feeds for full details of what’s new to ARKive.

May 17

The most recent update to the Living Planet Index has revealed that wildlife populations in the tropics have declined by an alarming 61%.

Bengal tiger image

Tiger populations have declined dramatically in recent decades

Trouble in the tropics

The Living Planet Report, produced jointly by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), assesses the health of the planet’s biodiversity by tracking more than 9,000 populations of animals across the world.

The report obtains its results from the Living Planet Index, an indicator of global biological diversity, which covers more than 2,600 different vertebrate species (birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish) in both temperate regions and the tropics. The index tracks and analyses changes in the abundance of a variety of species over time, allowing scientists to spot trends in the biodiversity of different areas.

The latest update of the Living Planet Index has found that, globally, wildlife populations have declined by 30% since 1970. While temperate regions have seen an average recovery in wildlife populations of about 30%, the tropics, where the bulk of the world’s biodiversity can be found, have not fared well at all.

The index revealed dramatic declines of 60% in the tropics since 1970, with the worst affected species being those found in tropical lakes and rivers.

Deforestation image

Deforestation for palm oil in Tanjung Puting National Park, Borneo

Causes of decline

The severe declines in the tropics amount to an average biodiversity loss of 1.25% every year since the index baseline was set in 1970. Large-scale human impacts, including deforestation, habitat degradation, overexploitation and pollution, are the principal causes of these dramatic wildlife losses.

The Living Planet Index also examines the impacts in particular regions. For instance, in Central and South America, wildlife populations have dropped by half in the last 38 years. In the Indo-Pacific, where deforestation levels are the highest in the world, a shocking decline of 64% has been observed.

This report is like a planetary check-up and the results indicate we have a very sick planet. Ignoring this diagnosis will have major implications for humanity. We can restore the planet’s health, but only through addressing the root causes, population growth and over-consumption of resources,” said Jonathan Baillie, Conservation Programmes Director with the Zoological Society of London.

Ecological footprints

Maintaining the health of ecosystems and the biodiversity within them is of utmost importance to human wellbeing. Biodiversity provides a number of valuable services, including pollination, carbon capture, food production, and medicines.

Yet analysis from the ‘Global Footprint Network’, which aims to calculate how sustainable our global society is in terms of its ecological footprint, has concluded that humankind is using one-and-a-half times more natural resources than the Earth can sustainably supply.

Amazonian manatee image

Tropical freshwater species have suffered the most dramatic declines


In time for the Rio+20 summit in June, environmentalists are now placing pressure on the world’s leaders to urgently step up the level of protection afforded to our natural resources.

The Rio+20 conference is an opportunity for the world to get serious about the need for development to be made sustainable,” said David Nussbaum, CEO of WWF-UK. “We need to elevate the sense of urgency, and I think this is ultimately not only about our lives but the legacy we leave for future generations.”

The Living Index Report provides some shining examples of recent progress on sustainability, including a project in Pakistan which has helped cotton farmers to dramatically reduce their water, pesticide and fertiliser use, while experiencing no reductions in yield.

Professor Tim Blackburn, Director of ZSL’s Institute of Zoology, likened the latest index figures to a stock market of the natural world:

There would be panic of the FTSE index showed a decline like this,” he said. “Nature is more important than money. Humanity can live without money, but we can’t live without nature and the essential services it provides.

Read more on this story at BBC News – Rio+20 summit leaders ‘must improve nature protection’ and – Wildlife in the tropics plummets by over 60 percent

Learn more about the Living Planet Index here.

Kathryn Pintus, ARKive Species Text Author

May 16

Lowland heaths, mountains, lakes, marshes, peat bogs, chalk grasslands, ancient woodlands and Caledonian woodlands – these are just few examples of the natural habitats found in the United Kingdom, each home to unique collections of plants and animals. We are still able to explore and enjoy these habitats today thanks to the hard work and dedication of The Wildlife Trusts. Established to curb the widespread devastation of natural habitats in the UK, The Wildlife Trusts celebrates its 100th birthday today.

Bluebell wood

A bluebell wood - one of the many natural habitats in the UK

On 16th May 1912, the banker, landowner and naturalist Charles Rothschild formed the Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves (SPNR), precursor to the The Wildlife Trusts.

For the first time in the UK, conservation efforts were focused on protecting the habitats of species, rather than focusing solely on species. Without this innovative movement, many of the natural habitats we now take for granted would no longer exist.

The society carried out the first ever national survey of wildlife sites in the UK, identifying ecologically important areas. From this, local Wildlife Trusts were set up to protect some of these special places of nature. A big breakthrough came in 1949, when the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act was passed, making the protection of nature a matter of law.

This move from conserving individual species to protecting habitats is still relevant today. There are now 47 Wildlife Trusts managing 2,300 reserves all over the UK. However a recent review on these protected areas found that many are too small and isolated. Connecting existing reserves is the next step in conserving our natural habitat.

Dartford warbler image

Dartford warblers can be found in sites managed by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust

Many worldwide conservation projects now focus on conserving habitats and ecosystems. It is amazing this approach was adopted here in the UK 100 years ago!

In the UK? Find a Nature Reserve near you.  

Watch the Wildlife Trusts’ centenary film on the Wildlife Trust website.

Lauren Pascoe, ARKive Media Researcher

May 16

After such a great response to our Animal Bands game on Twitter, we decided to do another one! This time, though, the topic was Animal TV Shows, and you sent in some crackers! Here are ten of our favourites…did your idea make the cut?!

Chimp My Ride

Young chimpanzee image

This young chimpanzee appears to be a bit of a back-seat driver!

This young chimpanzee has no need for the show that decks out cars with all the latest and greatest gear…he seems quite happy with his ride!

The Only Way is Essex Emerald Moth

Essex emerald moth image

Saltmarshes are the preferred habitat of the Essex emerald moth

This Essex emerald moth is looking rather reem, and we would forgive other invertebrates for being well jel of its beautiful green wings. Sadly, this species is now classified as Extinct in the UK.

Seal or No Seal

Galapagos fur seal image

The scientific name of the Galapagos fur seal comes from Greek words meaning 'bear headed'

Seal or No Seal describes the history of this Endangered species rather well. The Galapagos fur seal was hunted extensively in the 1800s, and was thought to be extinct until a small colony was rediscovered in the 1930s.

The Weakest Skink

Chevron skink image

The chevron skink can grow up to 30 cm in length

The chevron skink is New Zealand’s largest living endemic lizard, and one of its rarest. We think it does a pretty mean impression of the infamous Anne Robinson glare…is it about to wink?!

Orang M’Lord

Bornean orangutan image

The Bornean orangutan is a predominantly solitary creature

This female Bornean orangutan doesn’t seem to have grasped the concept of ladylike behaviour! However, we’re not sure she’d be any better as a maid if that’s how she’s planning on carrying the sandwiches and scones!

Gnu Wants to be a Millionaire

Blue wildebeest image

As it forms huge herds, the blue wildebeest should have no trouble finding a 'Phone a Friend' candidate!

These blue wildebeest, commonly referred to as gnus, seem to be gathering to watch an episode of their favourite show: Gnu Wants To Be A Millionaire! Or perhaps they’re eagerly awaiting the call to be a ‘Phone a Friend’?


Visayan warty pig image

The Visayan warty pig is a rainforest-dwelling species

Although not from Australia, we’re featuring this Visayan warty pig, as he would be a very rare neighbour to have. Found on just two islands of the Philippines, this species is extinct over at least 98% of its former range.


Kunming snout trout image

The Kunming snout trout lives in rapids and pools in fast-flowing streams

The Kunming snout trout is Critically Endangered as a result of water pollution, overfishing, and being Outnumbered by introduced fish species.

Miami Mice

Arabian spiny mouse image

The Arabian spiny mouse can shed its tail when attacked

The heroes of Miami Vice would have needed to don a special bulletproof vest to protect themselves during drug raids, but this Arabian spiny mouse has its own inbuilt protection against predators. When brushed against the direction of growth, this mouse’s fur becomes coarse and spine-like.

Would Aye-Aye to You?

Aye-aye image

The aye-aye has strong upper incisors to tear through wood

This rather odd-looking aye-aye hid a secret from scientists for years! This nocturnal species was originally classified as a rodent, but it is, in fact, a primate. Perhaps the aye-aye could use its unusually long middle digit to point out liars?!

This blog turned out to be harder to write than I’d expected, as I could only pick ten shows to feature, and there were so many fantastic ideas! So, I shall leave you with a quick mention of a few more that tickled us here in the ARKive office: Chicks Feet Under; Louse MD; Bok the Week; Have I Got Shrews For You; Home and A Whale; Starfish and Hutch; Whose Lion Is It Anyway?

Thanks, everyone! Look out for more wildlife-related fun and games soon!

Kathryn Pintus, ARKive Species Text Author


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