Papua New Guinea: More than 50 undocumented species discovered during expedition

More than 50 previously undocumented species have been uncovered
during an expedition to Papua New Guinea. The findings include a
jumping spider, a striped gecko, and a chirping frog. A team of
scientists from the environmental group Conservation International
reported the discoveries, made in Papua New Guinea’s dense rainforest
in July and August, on Tuesday.

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Fifty new spider species, two plants, three frogs and one gecko were
found. Many of the creatures have characteristics previously unseen in
the world’s ecosystems.

The newly named Litoria frog has a mating call
that can be heard above the sound of water, while the Tabuina jumping
spider propels itself by squeezing blood into its legs, which snaps
them straight and catapults it into the air.

The stripy gecko was also seen to use sharp claws to climb trees, rather than the typical pads seen on the feet of the species. Bruce Beehler, a scientist from Conservation International who was a member of the expedition, told Al Jazeera that the trip was difficult but “unalloyed pleasure”.

“Biologists going into tropical forests – it is always like a holiday,” he said. However, he said that there was still more discoveries to be made. “In terms of new species there are thousands out there,” he said. “Every time we go into the forest, into a place like [Papua] New Guinea, or Peru, or Ecuador, or some place in central Africa, we’re going to come back with new species because these areas are very, very poorly known.

“And the bigger picture is that we don’t know our earth that well. “And to really protect our earth we need to know what’s there, know what’s important and know what we need to save.”

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