An expedition to a tiny South American country has revealed more than 40 species that scientists believe to be new to science.

The expedition to the pristine tropical forests of Suriname was led by the charity Conservation International.

The collaboration between scientists, indigenous people and students recorded 1,300 species in total.

The team is now working to confirm which of these weird and wonderful creatures are newly discovered species.

Among those they believe to be new to science are the "cowboy frog", an amphibian with white fringes along its legs, and a spur-like structure on its "heel".

Another colourful addition to the scientific record is a a cricket, or katydid, that has been named the "crayola katydid" because of its bright colouration.

One of the new finds - an armoured catfish that has bony plates covered with spines all over its body to defend itself from the giant piranhas the inhabit the same waters - was almost eaten by one of the expedition guides.

Fortunately, before the guide had a chance to tuck in, the scientists noticed the fish's unique characteristics and preserved it as a specimen.

The three-week project was part of Conservation International's ongoing Rapid Assessment Program (RAP), which has been in progress for more than 20 years.

RAP director Dr Trond Larsen explained why this area of Suriname was so special.

"As you fly into the area, you travel for hundreds of miles and often [don't] see a single road - just continuous forest," he told BBC Nature.

"It's one of the last places in the world where you can find that wilderness."

Dr Larsen pointed out that conservationists often focused on places that were "already on the brink".

"We take these wildernesses for granted," he told BBC Nature. "But unless we focus on them now, they won't be like that for long."

The team have already helped the local people to designate an area of the forest as a "no take zone".

The eventual plan is for this area to become a small nature reserve.

This could safeguard native wildlife, ensuring that indigenous people are able to hunt sustainably, as well as encouraging ecotourism. (Source)

Turnip-Tailed Gecko
Photograph courtesy Trond Larsen via Conservation International
Pictured licking its eyeball, a turnip-tailed gecko was among the known species recorded during the Suriname expedition. Like many gecko species, the reptile has vertical elliptical pupils and no eyelids—and so uses its tongue as a sort of windshield wiper.

Cowboy Frog
Photograph courtesy Paul Ouboter via Conservation International
Sporting a spur on its heel, the aptly named cowboy frog is 1 of 46 potentially new species found during recent expeditions in the tiny South American country of Suriname, scientists announced this week.

Glittery Water Beetle
Photograph courtesy Andrew Short via Conservation International

"Crayola" Katydid
Photograph courtesy Piotr Naskrecki via Conservation International

Armored Catfish
Photograph courtesy Kenneth Wang Tong via Conservation International
A potentially new species of armored catfish (pictured) is covered in spines to defend against piranhas. A local guide was about to snack on the fish when scientists intervened and preserved it as a scientific specimen.

"Spectacular" Conehead Katydid
Photograph courtesy Piotr Naskrecki via Conservation International
A "spectacular" specimen of the conehead katydid species, previously identified in the Peruvian Amazon, was also spotted in Suriname—majorly expanding the species' range, according to Conservation International.

Predatory Catfish

Diagram courtesy Philip Willink via Conservation International

A possibly new species of catfish of the Pterodoras genus was discovered at night, sitting on a large underwater rock in the middle of a river.

Pac-Man Frog
Photograph courtesy Trond Larsen via Conservation International
Scientists also saw a Suriname horned frog, or Pac-Man frog—a "voracious sit-and-wait predator," according to Conservation International.

Responses to "Suriname team find 46 new species in tropical forests"

  1. Anonymous says:

    My favorite is the Pac-Man frog!!

  2. The truth is stranger than fiction!!!! Exciting! Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

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