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More New Species and Subspecies Announced

Posted by: Loren Coleman on December 25th, 2006

jabouilleia naungmungensis

As 2006 rolls to a close, scientists are releasing more announcements of new species and subspecies. Here are details of a new lizard, new birds, a new fish and a new subspecies of tiger.

Thailand: New Lizard (Not Salamander)

The Bangkok, Thailand newspaper, The Nation is reporting on December 25, 2006, that a new species of reptile, apparently incorrectly translated as a “salamander,” but as noted by Chad Arment, a lizard has been discovered that features a “short tail with thornlike scales.”

The Huai Hang Nam [lizard] was found living in a seasonal rain forest near Tevada Mountain in Chaiyaphum’s Phu Khieo Wildlife Reserve, the park’s forestry official, Monkol Khamsuk [said].

The [lizard] is among 37 species found for the first in the time in wildlife reserve during a study of its amphibians and reptiles sponsored by the BRT programme. Fifteen of the species were amphibians and 22 reptiles.

The Huai Hang Nam lizard, probably a new scaly-tail skink, named Tropidophorus hangnam, sp nov, mentions The Nation, is “entirely new to the world.”

Nepal: New Birds

Craig Heinselman passes along the news that “three new species of birds” have been found in Nepal.

Hem Subedi, member of Nepal Endangered Birds Committee, announced in mid-December 2006, that three new bird species had been found in the remote forest of Nepal’s Chepang Hill Siraichuli Trek area of the southern Chitwan district, some 100 km southwest of Kathmandu. The birds were discovered at the altitude of 1500 to 1930 meters from sea surface. No species names have been announced yet.

My caution with Nepali discoveries is that earlier this year, when the “discovery” of the red-breasted flycatcher (Ficedula parva) (pictured below) was announced, it was misleading.

New Bird

The reality is that the finding of the red-breasted flycatcher was only of a new species record for Nepal specifically, not a new discovery within zoology.

When a new animal is absolutely a new species, then it takes on a different aura. For instance, the Naung Mung Scimitar-Babbler (Jabouilleia naungmungensis) (pictured at top) was discovered in the pre-montane rainforests of northern Myanmar (Burma) in 2005. Their discovery, however, was not announced until 2006, and it is a unique new species. (See the painting at the top of this post, from the cover of the Auk.)

Antarctic: New Fish

Meanwhile in the Antarctic, a new species of purple-gold-colored fish that is a little over 13 inches long, likes the cold and has two holes between the eyes has been announced as new to science. The new fish is Cryothenia amphitreta, was discovered by a member of a research team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Cryothenia amphitreta is detailed in the December 2006 issue of Copeia for the first time, even though it was found in McMurdo Sound in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica in November 2004

Indochina: New Tiger Subspecies

Traditionally, there have been eight classified subspecies of Panthera tigris, although three have been declared extinct since the 1940s. Now, it appears there are six living subspecies of the tiger, not five, according to a December 12, 2006 article on a study led by Shu-Jin Luo of the Conservation Biology Graduate Program at the University of Minnesota, in the journal PLoS Biology.

Genetic material was analyzed from over 100 tigers, from Siberia to China, Indochina, Malaya Peninsula, Sumatra, and the Indian subcontinent. The new study found that the Indochinese subspecies should be divided into two groups, representing a northern Indochinese and a peninsular Malaya population.

The tiger report is presented as “new” for 2006, but in further research done by Craig Heinselman, it is obvious the report is from 2004.

Heinselman notes the original paper can be accessed online, “Phylogeography and Genetic Ancestry of Tigers (Panthera tigris)“.

Within the publication, the authors state the following:

…subspecies definition of O’Brien and Mayr (1991) and Avise and Ball (1990), our data suggest that there are at least five and possibly six tiger subspecies: Amur tigers (P. t. altaica); northern Indochinese tigers (P. t. corbetti I); southern Indochinese tigers (P. t. corbetti II), which are confined to the Malayan Peninsula; Sumatran tigers (P. t. sumatrae); Bengal tigers (P. t. tigris); and, if its uniqueness is affirmed by more extensive sampling, South China tiger (P. t. amoyensis). These conclusions are based on significant genetic structure among tigers from these different geographic regions with the MHC, mtDNA, and microsatellite data, and extremely limited gene flow as shown by disjunct distributions of genetic variation (unique mtDNA haplotypes and microsatellite alleles) and the high mtDNA Fst and microsatellite Rst values. In addition, each subspecies has an allopatric geographical distribution and differential natural history (Kitchener 1999; Seidensticker et al. 1999).>/em>

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What new species’ surprises await us in 2007?

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


6 Responses to “More New Species and Subspecies Announced”

  1. kittenz responds:

    Merry Christmas to All!

    My wish list for 2007 includes (but is not limited to) discovery of living thylacines, positive identification of the black (or whatever color) mystery cats in America, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, and living, breathing indisputable Bigfoot to study in the wild.

    Oh, and world peace!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! May all of you and your families be blessed with peace, health, prosperity, and curiosity during the coming year.

  2. Loren Coleman responds:

    The posting has been updated to reflect Chad Arment’s observation that, of course, salamanders do not have scales and the genus name Tropidophorus given is that of a kind of skink. The newspaper or a translator apparently confused the word “lizard” with “salamander.” Thanks to Dale Drinnon for bringing this to my attention while I was dealing with Christmas family activities.

  3. Mnynames responds:

    For better or for worse, I can assure you that Bigfoot is far less elusive than world peace…may we at least find something we’re looking for in this coming year…

  4. peteHZ responds:

    Good stuff there. Just wondering about the tiger story, as Wikipedia has it that the Malayan tiger has been accepted since 2004. Is it a case of the media being a couple of years behind science?

  5. Loren Coleman responds:

    An updated revision has been made to reflect the fact that despite the report on the tiger subspecies being published as “new” in one location on December 12, 2006, detective work by Craig Heinselman shows the primary information is from a report that is now two years old.

  6. kittenz responds:

    Whether the news about the newly recognized tiger subspecies is “new” or two years old, it was new to me … and I hold out hope that living tigers of the “extict” subspecies may yet be found, perhaps even languishing in captivity somewhere.

    Sightings of Bali, Caspian, and especially Javan tigers are occasionally reported, and some livestock carcasses are found from time to time in Java with wounds cosistent with tiger predation. Javan authorities have a management plan in place, with provision for relocating people and creating refuges, if concrete evidence can be found of their tiger’s continued existence.

    Given the more enlightened views towards predators in general, and tigers in particular, maybe there is still room for hope, however faint.



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