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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.)
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)
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)
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