WWF: 52 New Species Discovered on Borneo

Dec 19, 2006

Scientists have discovered at least 52 new species of animals and plants this past year on the island of Borneo. The discoveries, described in a new WWF report, include 30 unique fish species, two tree frog species, 16 ginger species, three tree species and one large-leafed plant species.

"The more we look the more we find," said Stuart Chapman, WWF International Coordinator of the Heart of Borneo Program. "These discoveries reaffirm Borneo's position as one of the most important centers of biodiversity in the world and why conservation there is so important."

Some of the creatures new to science include: a miniature fish, the world's second smallest vertebrate measuring less than a third of an inch in length and found in the highly acidic blackwater peat swamps of the island; six Siamese fighting fish, including one species with a beautiful iridescent blue-green marking; a catfish with protruding teeth and an adhesive belly which allows it to literally stick to rocks; and a tree frog with striking bright green eyes. The new ginger plants more than double the number of the Etlingera species found to date.

Several of these new species were found in the "Heart of Borneo," an 84,000 square mile mountainous region about the size of Kansas that is covered with equatorial rainforest in the center of the island. Large areas of the forest are at risk from destructive logging and expanding rubber, oil palm and pulp plantations. Since 1996, deforestation across Indonesia has increased to an average of 7,700 square miles each year, an area slightly smaller than Vermont. Today only half of Borneo's original forest cover remains.

"The remote and inaccessible forests in the Heart of Borneo are one of the world's final frontiers for science," said Adam Tomasek, director of WWF-US's Borneo & Sumatra Program. "Certainly, many new species are yet to be discovered there. These forests are also vital because they are the source of most of the island's major rivers, and provide life sustaining freshwater and other ecosystem services."

At a meeting of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity held last March in Curitiba, Brazil, the three Bornean governments' Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia declared their commitment to support an initiative to conserve and sustainably manage the Heart of Borneo.

Source: World Wildlife Fund

Explore further: Producing jet fuel compounds from fungus

Related Stories

Amorous slug, orange snake among finds on Borneo

Apr 22, 2010

A lungless frog, a frog that flies and a slug that shoots love darts are among 123 new species found in Borneo since 2007 in a project to conserve one of the oldest rain forests in the world.

Recommended for you

Producing jet fuel compounds from fungus

4 hours ago

Washington State University researchers have found a way to make jet fuel from a common black fungus found in decaying leaves, soil and rotting fruit. The researchers hope the process leads to economically ...

New technology maps human genome in days

5 hours ago

The two 3-by-1-inch glass chips held the unfathomable amount of genetic information contained in 16 human genomes. Last week, a technician placed the chips - called flow cells - in a new genetic sequencing ...

Just like humans, dolphins have social networks

9 hours ago

They may not be on Facebook or Twitter, but dolphins do, in fact, form highly complex and dynamic networks of friends, according to a recent study by scientists at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI) ...

Norway plans to slash subsidies to fur farms

9 hours ago

Norwegian fur farmers denounced Tuesday a government proposal to slash financial support to the controversial industry and warned that it could lead to farm closures in vulnerable rural areas.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.