New South American tapir species discovery


This video is called New Tapir Species Discovered In Amazon, Indigenous Tribes Were ‘Essential’ To Identify.

From Wildlife Extra:

Dramatic discovery of new tapir species in south-west Amazon

Tapirus kabomani is the largest land mammal to be discovered in decades

December 2013: In one of the most important zoological discoveries of the 21st century, scientists have announced they have found a new species of tapir in Brazil and Columbia. The new mammal, hidden from science but known to local indigenous tribes, is actually one of the biggest animals on the continent, although it’s still the smallest living tapir. Described in the Journal of Mammology, the scientists have named the new tapir Tapirus kabomani after the name for ‘tapir’ in the local Paumari language: ‘Arabo kabomani’.

Tapirus kabomani, or the Kobomani tapir, is the fifth tapir found in the world and the first to be discovered since 1865. It is also the first mammal in the order Perissodactyla (which includes tapirs, rhinos, and horses) found in over a hundred years. Moreover, this is the largest land mammal to be discovered in decades: in 1992 scientists discovered the saola in Vietnam and Cambodia, a rainforest bovine that is about the same size as the new tapir.

Found inhabiting open grasslands and forests in the Brazilian states of Rondônia and Amazonas, as well as the Colombian department of Amazonas, the new species is regularly hunted by the Karitiana tribe who call it the ‘little black tapir’. The new species is most similar to the Brazilian tapir (Tapirus terrestris), but sports darker hair and is significantly smaller: while a Brazilian tapir can weigh up to 320 kilograms (710 pounds), the Kabomani weighs just 110 kilograms (240 pounds). It also has shorter legs, a distinctly-shaped skull, and a less prominent crest.

Lead author and paleontologist Mario Cozzuol first found evidence of the new species a decade ago while looking at tapir skulls, which were markedly different than any other. Researchers then collected genetic material and tapir specimens from local hunters and the Karitiana Indians and extensive research into both the tapir’s physical appearance and genetics proved that the researchers were indeed dealing with an as-yet-undescribed species.

See also here.

Colombia, world’s most bird species


This video is called Colombia birds and wildlife.

From Wildlife Extra:

Almost 2,000 bird species and a world record for Colombia

December 2013: For the first time the official numbers of bird species registered in Colombia has exceeded 1,900, according to the scientific publication Conservación Colombiana.

This represents a new world record and firmly establishes Colombia as the world’s most biodiverse country.

This year, a sixth annual review was published through a collaboration of ornithological experts from Colombia, the USA and Europe, verifying the number of species registered within Colombia. A total of 1,903 species have now been recorded inside Colombia.

After 15 years of compilation, fieldwork and detailed revisions by the authors, these publications reveal Colombia host almost one fifth (18 per cent) of the 10,507 birds known on earth in just 0.8 per cent of its land surface. In an area the size of Texas and California, Colombia has registered almost twice as many bird species as the entire continental United States and Canada (with 976 species)

Colombia leads Peru in second place with 1838 species and Brazil in third place with 1798 species.

“Significant improvements in the security situation in large parts of Colombia in recent years have led to a wave of tours by birdwatchers experiencing Colombia’s stunning bird diversity” said checklist coauthor, Alonso Quevedo. “With this increase in ecotourism and continuing explorations of remote regions by Colombian and other ornithologists, the Colombian bird list will doubtless grow further, highlighting the region as key area for bird conservation.”

Although the Colombian list has increased, largely through ornithological study and findings of rare vagrant species, the situation for the best habitats for birds in Colombia – its primary forests – is less secure. With the return of security to many parts of rural Colombia and economic development, threats to bird life in Colombia have been mounting, forests are being cleared at accelerating rates and bird populations have been reduced. The greatest threats involve clearance of lowland tropical forest for African oil palm plantations for ethanol production (biofuels) in the western lowland forests of Chocó and Amazonian regions, as well as deforestation of Andean forests for agriculture.

“Worryingly, 206 bird species in Colombia are at risk of extinction, including 59 endemic bird species restricted to the country” noted Dr. Paul Salaman, director of Rainforest Trust and another coauthor of the Checklist since 2001. “Fortunately, the Colombian bird conservation group, Fundación ProAves, has been working towards the protection of the most critically endangered birds in recent years with a network of 24 bird reserves established across the country to protect over 1,300 bird species.”

Hellbender salamander rock music video


This video from the Center for Biological Diversity in the USA says about itself:

Hellbenders Rock

20 nov 2013

We love hellbenders. But they’re not the cuddliest of species, with their slimy bodies that look like the 2-foot-long lovechild of phlegm and a rock. Actually these critters — also called (by people not on the Center’s staff) “devil dogs” and “snot otters” — are pretty much a PR nightmare for anyone trying to fight off their extinction due to water pollution and dams. The rallying cry “Save the Snot Otter” doesn’t always go over well.

Happily for the hellbender, a band from St. Louis is now doing this salamander justice through song. They may yet make a rock ‘n’ roll legend out of North America’s largest amphibian.

We think there are few things more rockin’ than raising a little hellbender.

NATURAL HISTORY

HELLBENDER: Cryptobranchus alleganiensis
FAMILY: Cryptobranchidae

DESCRIPTION: Hellbenders are considered to be living fossils because they have changed so little over time. They are large, stout-bodied, fully-aquatic salamanders that grow to be two feet long with brown, grey or black skin with lighter markings. Hellbenders have flattened bodies and heads that allow them to cling to the river bottom, as well as a rough pad on their toes for traction on slick rocks. They have paddle-like tails for swimming, and numerous folds of fleshy skin for oxygen absorption. Their eyes are small, without lids, and their skin secretes toxic slime to ward off predators.

HABITAT: This salamander occurs in rocky, clear creeks and rivers, usually where there are large shelter rocks. It generally avoids water warmer than 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Males prepare nests and attend eggs beneath large, flat rocks or submerged logs.

RANGE: This species is found in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The Ozark subspecies is found only in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas.

MIGRATION: The hellbender does not migrate.

BREEDING: Hellbender breeding is aquatic. Males may move short distances within their home ranges to brooding sites. The breeding season is variable but occurs mainly in September and October; a male prepares a nest by moving gravel to create a saucer-shaped depression, then depositing 200-400 eggs in the depression. The male fertilizes the eggs and guards the nests until the young are about three weeks old.

LIFE CYCLE: Newly hatched larvae are approximately 1.2 inches long. Development is rapid, and hatchlings double their size in the first year. Larvae normally lose their external gills in the second summer after hatching. Hellbenders reach sexual maturity at five to six years and may live as long as 30 years.

FEEDING: Crayfish are the most important food items for hellbenders, but the salamanders’ diet also includes fish, insects, earthworms, snails, tadpoles, fish eggs, other hellbenders and other hellbenders’ eggs.

THREATS: This species is mainly threatened by poor water quality, unsustainable collection for the pet trade and scientific purposes, persecution by anglers, disease caused by chytrid fungus, stocking of predatory fish and loss of genetic diversity.

POPULATION TREND: The hellbender is declining throughout its range. The Ozark hellbender in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas is in especially alarming decline.

Action timeline

May 4, 2004 — The Center petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list 225 candidate species, including the Ozark hellbender.

April 20, 2010 — The Center petitioned to list 404 aquatic, riparian and wetland species in the southeastern United States as threatened or endangered, including the hellbender.

September 8, 2010 — The Service issued a proposed rule to list the Ozark hellbender as endangered but refused to designate critical habitat.

November 8, 2010 — The Center filed comments with the Fish and Wildlife Service urging the Service to designate critical habitat for the Ozark hellbender.

July 12, 2011 — The Center reached a landmark agreement with the Fish and Wildlife Service compelling the agency to move forward in the protection process for 757 species, including the Ozark and eastern hellbenders.

October 5, 2011 — The Service issued a final rule listing the Ozark hellbender as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act as part of our 757 species agreement.

January 31, 2013 — The Center and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment filed a formal notice of intent to sue the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the agencies’ failure to protect the Ozark hellbender, Hine’s emerald dragonfly, Tumbling Creek cavesnail and two endangered mussels on Missouri’s Mark Twain National Forest, where logging, road use and other activities are polluting waterways.

Two new species of mini-salamander discovered in Colombia: here.