Pacific Ocean: new animal species discovered

Espiritu Santo

IPS reports:

Pacific Island Gives Clues to Tropical Biodiversity

Julio Godoy

PARIS, Oct 21 (Tierramérica) – Since early September, 170 scientists from 25 countries are conducting a first-ever in-depth exploration of the island of Espiritu Santo, in the Oceania archipelago of Vanuatu, to produce an inventory of tropical biodiversity.

The biological wealth of this island region is so great that in about a month they have catalogued a hundred new species.

The multidisciplinary mission, known as Santo 2006, aims to index previously unknown species — before climate change decimates them forever. …

“Given the ecological wealth of Espiritu Santo and its surroundings, it was evident from the start of the mission that here we would discover unknown species,” said Bouchet.

“We estimated that we could catalogue some 3,500 species of molluscs in the southern region of the island alone — nearly twice the total species present in all of European waters.”

One of these species, discovered on Sep. 13, is the Scandarma sp., a crab capable of climbing mangrove trees.

Espiritu Santo update, November 2008: here.

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