Thousands of New Species Discovered on Tiny Island

An expedition to a tiny island in the South Pacific's Republic of Vanatu has yielded hundreds of new species, including possibly 1000 new species of crab.

i-33bd3a635ce56169988d55833ba8389a-Different Squat Lobster.jpg
Squat lobster

153 scientists from 20 countries participated in the survey of Espiritu Santo in the South Pacific, scouring caves, mountains, reefs, shallows, and forests collecting species. Out of over 10,000 species collected, the researchers are predicting that as many as 2000 may be previously unknown to the scientific community. Some pics from the National Geographic story are below, but we encourage you to visit this article and this article for more in depth descriptions of the creatures.

i-491af87893a22b5bd7ccff126d4d8990-Pink Limpet Snails.jpg
Pink limpet snails

i-07dc3845047c679af2ac910ecd727784-Sundial Snail.jpg
Sundial snail (already known to science, but too sweet to leave out)

Many, many, many more pics below the fold...

i-97c01cb34301a6d8abb9376d3c933fd2-Cicada.jpg
Cicada

i-da42c226c95415ccac0ec1a2a289df6f-Sea Snail.jpg
Sea snail

i-f508cd14284b5ed2dede1771cf3da2bc-Squat Lobster.jpg
Different squat lobster

i-36460bf48a8b972e70047ea6f292d4cf-Snapping Shrimp.jpg
Snapping shrimp

And now for the crabs....
i-432497c532386c3505b37a2fe3c90b7a-Crab 4 - Pom Pom or Boxer Crab.jpg
Pom pom or boxer crab

i-06a32a12d16d93bcf755ac92dddcf7e3-Crab 7 - Unidentified.jpg
Unidentified crab

i-9ec27b30e83e2d0bcfdc8b72cf775456-Crab 8 - Coral Guard Crab.jpg
Coral guard crab

i-3d27f1cbe7152c071d90b7b1585e1309-Common Hairy Crab.jpg
Common hairy crab

i-6d35e7e0a4453ac913ba684abf6f8126-Crab 1 - Two Horn Box Crab.jpg
Two horn box crab

i-74b2449b2c51ec4a9e4c45a452de17db-Crab 3 - Spider Crab.jpg
Spider crab

i-312fcadc9611a004b4b1ee7997bf3686-Crab 2 - Feather Star Crab.jpg
Feather star crab

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I gasped aloud. Wonderful, amazing, superb!!! Really great timing for me as I'm currently reading Measuring the World.
Holy crap I want to go adventuring now! Thanks so much for sharing this.

unbelievably beautiful, the wonder of it all...

I'm blown away!

Fuck me.. you idiots.. red lobster and the japanese are all now sending representives on a "scounting" trip to this island as we speak.. i fucking hate people.. let these creatures be man

The colors and shapes are so festive!

Although they dropped the ball on naming the 'Common Hairy Crab.' I don't know how you can look at something like that and make that judgement--IT'S HAIRY. And TERRIFYING.

I kind of wish I could go into biology just so I could discover something and give it an apropos name, like they did with the Vampire Squid from Hell. Now THAT'S accurate!

Those are some pretty critters. I'm just so glad that Inverts are finally getting their due. Thank you E.O. Wilson! ;)

By Arachnophile (not verified) on 03 Dec 2008 #permalink

"somebody went under a dock
and there they saw a squat...
it wasn't a squat... it was a squat LOBSTER!!!
squat lobstaaaaaa"

I'm disappointed by the spirit of white european cultural imperialism displayed by the entire perspective of this article. Vanuatu has been inhabited for centuries and these species are known to the locals. These are not "new species" at all, they are simply species that european paradigm trained so-called scientists had not seen before.

Calling them new and calling this a discover would be like if I went to New Mexico and then claimed to have discovered a previously unknown new world.

By Bill Bennett (not verified) on 03 Dec 2008 #permalink

mmm. Some of those look delicious!

[quote: Bill Bennett] "These are not 'new species' at all, they are simply species that european paradigm trained so-called scientists had not seen before."

You're probably right on some counts, but it's still a shame none of the locals ever felt inclined to share this "common knowledge" with the "outside world" at any point during these centuries. Even a quick sketch and description on a basic note-card would have surely been appreciated.

As an aside... Wow! I just discovered sour grapes!

I don't know whether Bill Bennett is an actual idiot or is spoofing an idiot, but either way I feel compelled to drop a clue bomb. Here's a hint, Billy boy: The phrase "new to science" means new... TO SCIENCE!!! Yes, anyone who lived on this island probably already knew about many or even all of these creatures. But the rest of the world didn't. Unless those people were actually sharing that knowledge with the wider community of scientific inquiry - publishing species descriptions, engaging in cladistic analysis designed to find the place of these species in the web of life, etc. - then their knowledge was in no way part of the world of science.

To scoff at "so-called scientists" in this manner makes about as much sense at scoffing at "so-called pilots" who fly airplanes. People who fly airplanes are pilots, and people who participate in the community of scientific inquiry are scientists. The residents of Espiritu Santo (which probably has a much better name in the local language, so I think that using the lame-ass Spanish name IS an actual example of cultural imperialism, as opposed to your idiotic accusation) certainly do know all sorts of things about their local flora and fauna. Moreover, their collective wisdom and experience about their ecosystem is indeed knowledge. And I'd bet that the investigating scientists relied upon their local guides a great deal, and credit them in their work, and talk incessantly about how awesome they were - because I've read lots of papers and listened to a lot of presentations, and my consistent experience is that field researchers both have and display enormous respect for the locals who help them in their research. But none of that changes the fact that the knowledge of the locals is not scientific knowledge if it is (a) isolated from the wider community of scientific inquiry, and (b) not actually scientific in any other discernible way (which, to be honest, is generally the case with local knowledge from *anywhere*, not just isolated, non-Western parts of the world).

Pink limpet snails

....

:)

By Huey Dohlar Feefty (not verified) on 03 Dec 2008 #permalink

Amazing variety on crabs.....awesome to see them lined up like this.

its Vanuatu, not Vanatu, just saying

but great article

Yep...thre goes Vanuatu. The Japs are undoubtedly already on their way.

Fucking eating of animals has to stop or WE ALL DIE.

I have seen that unidentified crab before. He was in one of my nightmares. Jesus that thing is freaky.

The third crab from the top looks like a snail!!

Now lets make it a nucleab bomb testing sie

I must say, the readers of this blog are not very scientific. Sad, since it is a science related blog.

Yeah, Dave H. How dare people read a blog post purely for enjoyment's sake. The nerve!

By jackalopemonger (not verified) on 04 Dec 2008 #permalink

You guys: eating has to stop or WE ALL DIE.

Evolution works in many amazing ways.

"The phrase "new to science" means new... TO SCIENCE!!"

The fact that you define Western science as science itself proves, I think, Bennett's point.

By mad the swine (not verified) on 04 Dec 2008 #permalink

Um, can you please explain what you mean by "western" science? I'm so confused.

As a clue I should perhaps mention that the 6000 scientists participating in LHC experiment (you might have heard about it) are from 70 different countries.

So, being a greentard means you get to be a racist?

The anti-Japanese comments here are pretty damned offensive.

mad the swine: I would say what Martin said, but I'd probably have been meaner about it because your comment is so very stupid.

I will also say that most of the working scientists I know personally have names like Ramachandran and Yu. Damn Westerners and their Western science!

*sigh*

Wow. Evolution can do such great stuff--despite the fact that it has neither form nor intelligence. Hmmm.

By Shandooga (not verified) on 04 Dec 2008 #permalink

I like the hairy crab!

Shandooga - you're such a troll. With the utter miscomprehension of biology and evolutionary theory you've displayed over the years, is there really any call for you be on science blogs when you know that no one here will agree with you or appreciate your misguided ID/creationist arguments?

WTF is going on with this post? Suddenly it's like a PZ Myers comment thread up in here. Why the hate, trolls?

Keep doing what you're doing, Bleimans. Your irreverent and entertaining take on zoology and all its forms is a breath of fresh air--you are the Daily Show/Colbert Report of Scientific news!

"Wow. Evolution can do such great stuff--despite the fact that it has neither form nor intelligence. Hmmm."

Evolution is something that just happens. The animals that had traits better suited to survival in this environment lived long enough to pass on these traits to their offspring. In many instances, one of these traits it something that is referred to as 'camouflage'.

Absolutley amazing. The diversity is incredible. Mother Earth is truly fantastic. If man werent such a pillager, this planet could go on for millenia.

Fascinating pictures and creatures. Also fascinating how many are posting from the very narrow perspective of their own biases.
BTW, PatriotG, the planet will go on on and for many, many millenia. Possibly a few billion years. Well after man disappears from the face of the earth.

Oh, and for the idiot who thought the locals already knew about these creatures. I highly doubt they were aware of creatures found 150 meters under the water offshore.

"If man werent such a pillager, this planet could go on for millenia."

If men didn't fucking whine so much and actually got off their asses and tried to solve the problems we faced, it would likewise also go on for millennia.

ID-trolls: If there's an intelligent designer, then why are you so fucking stupid?

Amazing find! Thanks for sharing guys. I think my favorite is the Coral Guard Crab. So delicate, and the coloring...oh! Second place goes to the Pink Limpet snails.

***

Sean, shame on you for the LOBSTAAAAA song that is now stuck in my head. But I think that was in my Karma (from last time I mentioned the Rock Lobsta!) ;-D

The all look soooooo delicious!

You know what I really hate? Capers! People put them in recipes to make them taste better but they just make the whole dish taste like capers. Seriously, enough with the capers!

Wow, such hostility. It's a real shame that you'd all rather fight about who found them first or why they are there than to just stop and appreciate the magnificent species many of us are seeing for the first time. When conserving nature becomes more important than nature itself, what's the point? Look for the beauty in life, be thankful you can see it before its gone.

By Anonymous (not verified) on 04 Dec 2008 #permalink

I want to be the first to eat one of each of these species.

By Ditch Digger (not verified) on 04 Dec 2008 #permalink

These comments take me back to childhood.

(@Benny: They just taste like little balls of vinegar tar. Sick.)

I love this blog.

By David Plumb (not verified) on 04 Dec 2008 #permalink

I hate capers too! And I hate anybody who's willing to have anything to do with them. And while I'm at it, I suggest we take down the Bleiman brothers for providing a forum for their mention.

All I can think about is how delicious these animals might be. I love seafood.

I moved to New Mexico 6 years ago and it really is a bit like [quote: Bill Bennett] a "previously unknown new world," at least to someone from Connecticut.

1) Bright colors are tip offs of 2 types of animals... poisonous, and VERY posionous. There are immitators of course, but the smart play is to stay the heck away from anything this brilliant in nature... ESPECIALLY small ones. They can only "brag" and stand out if they are deadly serious, or Maverick-level poker players. You wanta eat them? Have at it... but keep your Final Will & Testement in your wallet. ;)

2) If the extinction of many species has taight us anything, it's that EVERYTHING changes. Extinction is just part of the world, just like birth and death of individual creatures. It happens... don't demonize a nature process. If you have ANY chance of "saving" these rare species, its NOT for ignoring them, it's from documenting as much as possible about them, decoding their DNA and epigenomics, and investigating what proteins/genes make them so unique. If you have full, well-preserved DNA from an animal, it is very likely you can recreate it in the future... once their gone, and the DNA is degraded, chances drop off quickly. well-preserved if key though, which is why recreating Mammoths, Dodos, and other relatively "recent" extinctions may be possible, though unlikely.

If any animal has a real shot at comeing back from extinction, my money's on the Cheetah or some other well-preserved animal that we have modern samples from... not from an animla that's been extinct for 100+ years and we're hoping some fragments of recovered DNA will be viable.

Just my $0.02.

By Biochem Grad (not verified) on 05 Dec 2008 #permalink

Wonderfull.it's nice

Truly, the exotic South Pacific. Wonderful site & blog.

Thanks for the tip about Daniel Kehlmann's book, (Measuring the World). I just reserved it at my library.

This is a beautiful site. I am a retired biology teacher, and I always wanted to go on an adventure like this -- find a new insect in South America, and name it after me! Now, at 70 years old, I appreciate the vicarious pleasure. Thanks for the site.

By Phyllis Grange (not verified) on 09 Dec 2008 #permalink

Those limpet snails, the binomial nomenclature is Jimmyhattus vanuatuensis, right?

Some Guy,

So, being a greentard means you get to be a racist? The anti-Japanese comments here are pretty damned offensive

To say nothing of the anti-crappy-cheap-American-corporate-frozen-seafood-chain-restaurant comments.

Seriously, I don't see any anti-Japanese comments upthread. I do see comments criticising the Japanese habit of killing and eating endangered species. If it were Belgians or Botswanans that hunt whales under the cynical cover of "research", those comments would have referred to the Belgians or Botswanans instead.

Oh, and one other thing. I'm no tree-hugger, indeed I'm fairly easily annoyed by some sorts of environmentalist. But even so, your use of "greentard" tells me pretty reliably that you have nothing to say worth listening to.

That is sooo beautiful. I wish I became a scientist, discovering new species must be the greatest experience ever.

The poor pom-pom crab!
It looks so off-balance and forlorn without its tiny pet anemones in its mitts.

Those guys live pretty shallow; I bet the locals knew about them.

Very cool animals. (But I miss the missing anemones.)

Wow, and yet atheists would have us believe there is no God and many agnostics would have creationists vilified for not being doubtful! Truly they are blind!

"Woe to you, blind guides! You say, 'If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.'" - Matthew 23:16

Shandooga - you're such a troll. With the utter miscomprehension of biology and evolutionary theory you've displayed over the years, is there really any call for you be on science blogs when you know that no one here will agree with you or appreciate your misguided ID/creationist arguments?

I gonna other lige forms are out there at he bottom of oceanI wonder what other lige forms are out there at he bottom of ocean

These are not 'new species' at all, they are simply species that european paradigm trained so-called scientists had not seen before."

You're probably right on some counts, but it's still a shame none of the locals ever felt inclined to share this "common knowledge" with the "outside world" at any point during these centuries. Even a quick sketch and description on a basic note-card would have surely been appreciated.

An expedition to a tiny island in the South Pacific's Republic of Vanatu has yielded hundreds of new species, including possibly 1000 new species of crab.These are not 'new species' at all, they are simply species that european paradigm trained so-called scientists had not seen before."

You're probably right on some counts, but it's still a shame none of the locals ever felt inclined to share this "common knowledge" with the "outside world" at any point during these centuries. Even a quick sketch and description on a basic note-card would have surely been appreciated.

I like this kind of beautiful sea they go, and very very new gurdum gurdukce.de beginning to recognize this sea guzelerni harıka foto.lar harıka presentation.

I will also say that most of the working scientists I know personally have names like Ramachandran and Yu. Damn Westerners and their Western science!

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This is extremely helpful. Iâve been trying to find ways to engage readers more effectively and after reading your comments I feel like I have a much better idea of how to drive more of a discussion on my posts.

This is extremely helpful. Iâve been trying to find ways to engage readers more effectively and after reading your comments I feel like I have a much better idea of how to drive more of a discussion on my posts.

ID haters. I hope you understand the reality that true science relies on two axioms; observable truth and naturalistic truth. The origin of life and the beginning of of the universe can not be explained by both axioms. Therefore, we as scientists need to recognize our inability to assume anything about whether ID is valid or invalid.

they'r cool

By DESTINY 9YRS (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

You know what I really hate? Capers! People put them in recipes to make them taste better but they just make the whole dish taste like capers. Seriously, enough with the capers!

I get that Ford is pushing the Mustang, but wouldnât times against other cars in itâs class have been better? If the Impreza is pulling a sub 10 minute rally, then the Mustang is NOT a good rally car. All this video proves is that a rear wheel drive Ford can rally, but the Escort proved that in the WRC 20 years ago.

TO SCIENCE!!! Yes, anyone who lived on this island probably already knew about many or even all of these creatures. But the rest of the world didn't. Unless those people were actually sharing that knowledge with the wider community of scientific inquiry - publishing species descriptions, engaging in cladistic analysis designed to find the place of these species in the web of life, etc. - then their knowledge was in no way part of the world of science

The poor pom-pom crab!
It looks so off-balance and forlorn without its tiny pet anemones in its mitts.

Those guys live pretty shallow; I bet the locals knew about them.

Very cool animals. (But I miss the missing anemones.)

Hi .. I really hate ? Capers ! People put them in recipes to make them taste better but they just make the whole dish taste like capers... And some dood points there ... very cool post indeed.

Hi .. To scoff at "so-called scientists" in this manner makes about as much sense at scoffing at "so-called pilots" who fly airplanes. People who fly airplanes are pilots, and people who participate in the community of scientific inquiry are scientists. The residents of Espiritu Santo (which probably has a much better name in the local language, so I think that using the lame-ass Spanish name IS an actual example of cultural imperialism, as opposed to your idiotic accusation) certainly do know all sorts of things about their local flora and fauna. Moreover, their collective wisdom and experience about their ecosystem is indeed knowledge... Tnx All ..

actually avoidable with only a little effort. There are some worrying trends, and undoubtedly the worst of them is credit card usage, but the fight isn't even half lost

Hi .. To scoff at "so-called scientists" in this manner makes about as much sense at scoffing at "so-called pilots" who fly airplanes. People who fly airplanes are pilots, and people who participate in the community of scientific inquiry are scientists. The residents of Espiritu Santo (which probably has a much better name in the local languag

People are so fed up with the repugnican rule, we will have a president Obama â unless they manage to steal another election & /or motivate the toothless majority by scaring them w/ Gay marriage.

Then you have the enthusiasts who enjoy upgrading their PC and enjoy all the mods and the stuff like that and thats where I fit in. While people find it like work to upgrade their PC I find it really fun to customise my rig..... just wish'd I didn't feel shame for enjoying it and wasting my life indoors playing games seeing as life is short and my g/f always makes me feel like a major geek.

Then you have the enthusiasts who enjoy upgrading their PC and enjoy all the mods and the stuff like that and thats where I fit in prefabrik

Seriously, I don't see any anti-Japanese comments upthread. I do see comments criticising the Japanese habit of killing and eating endangered species. If it were Belgians or Botswanans that hunt whales under the cynical cover of "research", those comments would have referred to the Belgians or Botswanans instead.

certainly do know all sorts of things about their local flora and fauna. Moreover, their collective wisdom and experience about their ecosystem is indeed knowledge... Tnx All

I don't know whether Bill Bennett is an actual idiot or is spoofing an idiot, but either way I feel compelled to drop a clue bomb. Here's a hint, Billy boy: The phrase "new to science" means new... TO SCIENCE!!! Yes, anyone who lived on this island probably already knew about many or even all of these creatures. But the rest of the world didn't. Unless those people were actually sharing that knowledge with the wider community of scientific inquiry - publishing species descriptions, engaging in cladistic analysis designed to find the place of these species in the web of life, etc. - then their knowledge was in no way part of the world of science.
You're probably right on some counts, but it's still a shame none of the locals ever felt inclined to share this "common knowledge" with the "outside world" at any point during these centuries. Even a quick sketch and description on a basic note-card would have surely been appreciated.

TO SCIENCE!!! Yes, anyone who lived on this island probably already knew about many or even all of these creatures. But the rest of the world didn't. Unless those people were

Why the hate, trolls?

Keep doing what you're doing, Bleimans. Your irreverent and entertaining take on zoology and all its forms is a breath of fresh air--you are the Daily Show/Colbert Report of Scientific news

doing what you're doing, Bleimans. Your irreverent and entertaining take on zoology and all its forms is a breath of fresh air--you are the Daily Show/Colbert Report of Scientific

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I'm disappointed by the spirit of white european cultural imperialism displayed by the entire perspective of this article. Vanuatu has been inhabited for centuries and these species are known to the locals. These are not "new species" at all, they are simply species that european paradigm trained so-called scientists had not seen before.

doing what you're doing, Bleimans. Your irreverent and entertaining take on zoology and all its forms is a breath of fresh air--you are the Daily Show/Colbert Report of Scientifi

Although they dropped the ball on naming the 'Common Hairy Crab.' I don't know how you can look at something like that and make that judgement--IT'S HAIRY. And TERRIFYING.

doing what you're doing, Bleimans. Your irreverent and entertaining take on zoology and all its forms is a breath of fresh air--you are the Daily Show/Colbert Report of Scientifi

this article. Vanuatu has been inhabited for centuries and these species are known to the locals. These are not "new species" at all, they are simply species that european paradig

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Your irreverent and entertaining take on zoology and all its forms is a breath of fresh air--you are the Daily Show/Colbert Report of Scientifi

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By Umit Erdal (not verified) on 14 Oct 2010 #permalink

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