January 27, 2013
Senckenberg Researchers Discovered Over 500 New Species Over The Last Two Years
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Nearly 500 new species have been discovered by experts affiliated with the six research institutes and three natural history museums of the Senckenberg Gesellschaft fÃ¼r Naturforschung (SGN), officials from the Frankfurt-based German nonprofit group have announced.
In a statement released on Friday, Senckenberg officials revealed that staff members from their museums and institutes had identified 491 new species in 2011 and 2012.
Those figures include 404 species that are still living and 87 fossilized species, as well as 416 land-based creatures and 75 new forms of marine life, they added. The overwhelming majority of the creatures (324) were discovered on the continent of Asia, while at least 96 were identified throughout Europe.
More than 300 of the newly identified species were insects, spiders, or other arthropods, while 64 were mollusks and 30 were plants, the researchers said. In addition, the organization claims that over the past five years, their scientists have discovered more than 1,100 new species.
“2012 was the most successful Senckenberg year so far, with 331 newly discovered species,” said Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Volker Mosbrugger, who serves as SGN´s Director General. “We have therefore described around two percent of all newly discovered species worldwide.”
“The extent of new discoveries ranged from colorful island crabs to the Yellow Dyer Rain Frog and fossilized woodpeckers to the first eyeless huntsman spider,” the statement explained. “Some of the animals have barely been discovered and are already threatened with extinction.”
According to Dr. Peter JÃ¤ger, an arachnologist at Senckenberg who discovered 46 new spider species in 2011 and 2012, part of the reason the scientists make such an effort to catalogue new creatures is to help protect animal species.
A reported 100 species die out each day, despite so many new discoveries, SGN officials explained. As Director General Mosbrugger pointed out, “The objective always is to record and preserve the diversity of life on earth, in other words, biodiversity.”