Discovery of New Animal Species In The 21st Century

Annamite Striped Rabbit

What’s black and brown and striped all over? A new species of rabbit hopping around the forests of Southeast Asia, according to the Aug. 19th issue of the journal Nature. Discovered by biologists from the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the rabbit lives in the rugged Annamite Mountains of Laos, an extremely isolated region that has yielded several new species of mammals in recent years.

Arunachal Macaque

The Arunachal Macaque (Macaca munzala), a relatively large brown primate with a comparatively short tail, is a macaque native to Arunachal Pradesh in north-eastern India. Its species name comes from Munzala (“monkey of the deep forest”) as it was called by the Dirang Monpa tribe. It was unknown to scientists until 2004, when a group of scientists from the Nature Conservation Foundation, India reported it.

Australian Snubfin Dolphin

The Australian snubfin dolphinOrcaella heinsohni (Beasley, Robertson, Arnold, 2005), is a recently recognised species of dolphin first described in 2005.

Experts say the discovery of a new mammal is extremely rare. In fact, the Australian Snubfin is the first new dolphin species to be discovered in 56 years! Two scientists at James Cook University, Isabel Beasley and Peter Arnold, took DNA samples from the population of dolphins off the coast of Townsville, Queensland and sent them to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, California. The results showed that George Heinsohn, (an Australian biologist who worked at James Cook University in the 1960s and 1970s on dolphin species for whom Orcaella heinsohni is named) was correct in his hypothesis that the Townsville population was a new species.

Bornean Clouded Leopard

The Bornean Clouded Leopard (Neofelis diardi) is a medium-sized wild cat found on Borneo, Sumatra and the Batu Islands in the Malay Archipelago and publicised under that name by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on March 14, 2007. Its coat is marked with irregularly-shaped, dark-edged ovals which are said to be shaped like clouds, hence its common name. Though scientists have known of its existence since the early 19th century, it was positively identified as being a distinct species in its own right in 2006, having long been believed to be a subspecies of the mainland Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa).

Calayan Rail

Exactly one hundred years after the last visit by an ornithologist, a team of bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian specialists arrived in May this year on the island of Calayan, one of the Babuyan Islands in the northernmost part of the Philippines archipelago. There, they made the remarkable discovery of a new species of rail, which they have named the Calayan Rail Gallirallus calayanensis. (The formal description appears in Forktail 20: 1–7, published by the Oriental Bird Club.)

The rail appears to be restricted to forests on coralline limestone areas, which probably make up less than half the island’s surface, and the extent of their suitable habitat is likely to be much less than 100 km², and could be smaller than 10 km². Des suspects they are abundant, but very localised.

Camiguin Hanging Parrot

Both adults in general green; yellow/green breast and abdomen; red forehead, crown, lower back and upper tail coverts; gold/yellow wash on back of crown and head; band of orange/red on nape which varies from bird to bird; blue cheeks; blue greater underwing coverts; blue undertail and underside of flight feathers. Bill orange. Eye grey/brown. Female has less blue on cheeks.

Call: Calls are described as high-pitched and repetitious notes.


The Dingiso is currently (2003) listed as a vulnerable species. It is endemic to Indonesia. It was first discovered by an Australian named Dr Tim Flannery in 1987. He roamed the mountains in New Guinea and discovered four new varieties of tree kangaroo. He named this Dendrolagus mbaiso, referring to it as “It’s a beautiful thing, and no biologist had ever seen one before.” Flannery describes the Dingiso as “none was as unusual as Dingiso and none such an interesting evolutionary and culturual story to tell.

“Did you know? The Dingiso is the only known species of semi-terrestrial tree kangaroo.

Ghost Slug

A new all white worm-eating slug has been discovered in back gardens in south Wales.

A “ghost” slug found in a garden in Cardiff has been declared a new species by specialists at the National Museum of Wales and Cardiff University.

They have given the creature a partially Welsh name, Selenochlamys ysbryda, or ghost (ysbryd) slug. Creatures of this type are more usually found in Turkey and Georgia.

The origin of the ghost slug, and its route into Britain, is completely unknown, and specimens have not been seen in Europe before this was discovered in Cardiff last year.

Mary River Turtle

The Mary River Turtle, Elusor macrurus, is an endangered short-necked turtle that inhabits the Mary River in South-East Queensland, Australia. In the 1960s and 1970’s, they were popular as pets in Australia, with about 15,000 sent to shops every year during a ten year period. They were originally known as the “Pet Shop” turtle. Hatchlings have a SCL (Straight Carapace Length) of between 2-3.5 cm.

Pygmy Three-toed Sloth

The Pygmy Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus pygmaeus) is a three-toed sloth.  Its habitat is located on the tiny island of Isla Escudo deVeraguas off the coast of Panama. As its name suggests, it is a dwarf of its mainland relatives; it is likely a product of insular dwarfism. It weighs 40% less and is 20% smaller than other three-toed sloths.

2 thoughts on “Discovery of New Animal Species In The 21st Century

  1. I liked Mittermeier’s Mouse Lemur at 2:48. It looked like it had just been told a funny story!

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