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Eleven new species discovered in France

Usually announcements of new species come from biodiverse rainforests or unexplored marine depths, but researchers have announced the discovery of nearly a dozen new species in one of Earth’s most well-trodden place: France. Eleven new species have been discovered in Mercantour National Park in southern France. All the new species are insects, including one beetle, seven new aquatic invertebrate living under creek beds, and three springtails, which are soil-dwelling arthropods.

These new discoveries are the partial results of the All Taxa Inventory Project to identify all living life found in two protected areas: Mercantour National Park and Maritime Alps National Park in Italy. It is an ambitious project with an initial investment of 150,000 Euros since its inception in 2007. To accelerate the colossal work of the All Taxa Inventory Project, an annual budget of 850,000 Euros has been recently approved until 2012 through the support of the European Commission, the European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy, Albert II de Monaco Foundation, Principauté de Monaco, Region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, and European Regional Development Fund.

Other new species are expected to be discovered, especially new lichens and parasites as these inventories will be explored soon. More than 250 scientists are part of the scientific team.

Located in the department of the Alps-Maritimes, at the north east of the Riviera, the Mercantour National Park covers 65,000 hectares with an elevation ranging from 300 meters to 3,300 meter. It is believed that this protected park alone could harbor 15,000 to 20,000 species. To date almost 8,000 species have been inventoried.

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