Scientists described at least 441 previously unknown species from Amazon rainforest between 2010 and 2013, according a new report from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
The species include 258 plants, 84 fish, 58 amphibians, 22 reptiles, 18 birds and one mammal. The list does not include insects and other invertebrates.
WWF periodically tallies the number of newly described species from regions where it works. In recent years it has published similar reports on the Greater Mekong Region in Southeast Asia, Borneo, New Guinea, Madagascar, and the Amazon, among others. The group capitalizes on the public’s interest in “new species” in an effort to raise interest and awareness in protecting these regions.
A newly-described titi monkey, Callicebus caquetensis, the Colombian Amazon was discovered in 2008 but only described in 2011. Photo © Júlio Dalponte.
Accordingly, with the release of the latest survey — which is based on a review of new species descriptions published in scientific journals — Claudio Maretti, the head of WWF’s Living Amazon Initiative, noted the importance of conserving the Amazon.
“Compiling and updating data on new species discovered in the vast extension of the Amazon over the last four years has shown us just how important the region is for humanity and how fundamentally important it is to research it, understand it and conserve it. The destruction of these ecosystems is threatening biodiversity and the services it provides to societies and economies. We cannot allow this natural heritage to be lost forever.”
Deforestation in the Amazon has slowed in recent years due primarily to Brazil’s efforts to rein in forest clearing. Nonetheless there are signs that forest loss in Brazil has increased sharply this year.
Photos of selected new Amazon species discovered over the past four years
TOP: Dead Cyanogaster noctivaga specimen — the fish was difficult to capture alive due to its small size, according to the authors. BOTTOM: Live blue-bellied night wanderer. Photo courtesy of George Mattox et al (2013).
Male and female (duller colored) of Enyalioides azulae. Photo by: P.J. Venegas.
Apistogramma cinilabra dwarf cichlid. © Uwe Rîmer
Chironius challenger, a snake from Guyana. was named after Arthur C. Doyle’s fictional character Professor George Edward Challenger in the novel, The Lost World. © Philippe Kok
Callicebus caquetensis. © Philippe Kok
Gonatodes timidus gecko from Guyana. © Philippe Kok
Allobates amissibilis frog from Guyana. © Philippe Kok