"Inflatable Shark" Among 300 New Species Found in Philippines


Just when you thought everything that can be discovered on Earth has already been discovered comes word of 300 brand new species found in the Philippines.

Scientists fanned out over the Philippines -- from the top of the mountains to the bottom of the seas -- in search of previously-undiscovered species. And boy did they find some.

"I have been working in the Philippines on my own research for 20 years — I thought it would be great to bring a large team of researchers together to study from mountaintops to the deep sea, to determine if all of these places harbor new species. I was delighted that my hunch proved to be correct," said researcher Terrence Gosliner, dean of science and research collections at the California Academy of Sciences and leader of the 2011 Philippine Biodiversity Expedition.

In addition to finding dozens of insects and spiders, LiveScience writes:

Their novel discoveries include a cicada that makes a distinctive "laughing" call, a crab whose pincers are lined with needlelike teeth, and a wormlike pipefish that hides among colonies of soft coral. In addition, they discovered a possible new species of swell shark — a shark that pumps water into its stomach to puff up — which unlike its relatives possesses a very distinctive camouflaged color pattern.

The researchers suspect the waters off the Philippines may house more species than any other marine environment on Earth. The deep-water channel they sampled is nutrient-rich, allowing life to flourish. And it has all existed for about 60 million years, giving species a lot of time to evolve. "All of those factors together have led to the high diversity," Gosliner said.

The scientists will present their preliminary results on June 30, during the California Academy of Sciences' weekly NightLife event.


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