Tuesday, May 24, 2011

'T-Rex' leech, a 6ft-long lizard and glowing fungus among incredible 'new' species that scientists (somehow) failed to spot - 24th May 2011

(Image) This 6ft-long fruit-eating lizard is on a list of 10 new species drawn up by scientists.

A 'T-Rex' leech with enormous teeth, a 6ft-long fruit-eating lizard and a glowing tree fungus are on a top 10 list of weird and wonderful 'new' species published by scientists today.

Experts made the selection from thousands of plants, animals and microbes described for the first time last year to draw attention to the importance of conserving life on earth.

Scientists say that 'a reasonable estimate' is that there are still around 10million species waiting to be described, named, and classified before the diversity and complexity of the biosphere is understood.

Leading the group of new discoveries is the fearsome leech Tyrannobdella rex, which has a mouthful of gigantic teeth, much like its namesake, the 'king of dinosaurs' Tyrannosaurus rex.

Scientists discovered the bloodthirsty invertebrate when they pulled a 2in-long specimen from the nose of a girl in a remote region of Peru.

A somewhat more attractive example of a new species is the striking fruit-eating monitor lizard, Varanus bitatawa, from Luzon Island in The Philippines.

At 6ft 6in in length, it has a blue-black body mottled with pale yellow-green dots and spends most of its time in trees. Read More