(ANIMAL DISCOVERY) Scientists working with Conservation International have released a list of their 20 favorite finds from the 1,300 new species discovered in the past 20 years. Among them you can find the cuddly looking goliath bird-eating spider, the satanic leaf-tailed gecko, and the tube-nosed fruit bat. Read on to find out more about these fascinating animals and see the amazing pictures. — Global Animal
The Daily Mail, Eddie Wrenn
For 20 years, field scientists working with Conversation International have been exploring some of the world’s most abundant, mysterious and threatened tropical ecosystems.
To date, they have discovered more than 1,300 species new to science – although so far only 500 or so have been formally described by taxonomists, in terms of classification and naming.
And now, to celebrate their 20 years of cataloguing, the group has released 20 of their favourite finds.
While some – like the fish that flashes a beautiful array of colours when it is in love – make a great sight, others are more than likely to quiver, such as the giant blue scorpion, or the ants which hook on to each other with sharp barbs when threatened.
And arachnophobes – take a deep breath, because this is what is thought to be the largest tarantula known to exist – oh, and it eats lizards.
The giant spider is the Goliath bird eating spider (theraphosa blondi) and is the largest (by mass) spider in the world, reaching the weight of 170g and leg span of 30cm.
It was observed by Conservation International’s Rapid Assessment Program scientists in Guyana in 2006, where it lives in burrows on the floor of lowland rainforests.
Despite the name, it feeds primarily on invertebrates – but have been observed eating small mammals, lizards and even venomous snakes.
They have venom fangs, which are not deadly to humans, but their main line of defense are hairs that cover their entire body – when threatened their rub their legs agains the abdomen and send a cloud of microscopic barbs that lodge in the skin and mucus membranes of the attacker, causing pain and long-lasting irritation.
Meanwhile the emperor scorpion (pandinus imperator) has an eight-inches-long body, this is one of the largest scorpions in the world – a species from India is reputedly slightly longer.
Observed by scientists in Atewa, Ghana in 2006. Despite their enormous size they feed primarily on termites and other small invertebrates, and its venom is not particularly harmful to humans.
The venom of this species contains compounds that are being tested as potential drugs to control arrhythmia (a heart disease) and the blue fluorescent betacarbolines that cover its body (visible only in ultraviolet light) are studied in order to understand degeneration of proteins in human eye lenses, which leads to cataract blindness.
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