From British daily The Guardian:
Ghost orchid comes back from extinction
Three species thought extinct, including a caddisfly and yellow-spotted bell frog, have been sighted in the UK and Australia
* Juliette Jowit
* Monday 8 March 2010 17.10 GMT
Three species thought to be extinct have been found again, to the delight of conservationists.
In the UK, the rare ghost orchid, declared extinct in this country just last year, has been found in England, and a caddisfly – a small flying insect – last seen more than a century ago has been discovered again in Scotland. On the global stage the yellow-spotted bell frog, presumed “possibly extinct” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, has been seen on a creek-bed in Australia.
The good news stories follow a warning by a leading IUCN expert that humans are now driving plants and animals to extinction faster than new species can evolve.
Simon Stuart, the IUCN expert who chairs the Species Survival Commission which declares species endangered or extinct, said that although roughly one “possibly extinct” species each year was re-discovered, many more plants and animals were added to the list.
A rare orchid in Western Australia that spends its entire life underground is providing crucial insights into exactly which genes are essential for plant survival. The critically endangered Rhizanthella gardneri, a native Australian orchid that lives its entire lifecycle underground, was found to be missing 70% of its chloroplast genes – genes typically associated with the conversion of sunlight into energy – which are essential to regular, above-ground plants: here.