Photograph courtesy Piotr Naskrecki, Conservation International
This tube-nosed fruit bat is just one of the roughly 200 species encountered during two scientific expeditions to Papua New Guinea in 2009—including a katydid that “aims for the eyes” and a frog that does a mean cricket impression, Conservation International announced late Tuesday.
Though seen on previous expeditions, the bat has yet to be formally documented as a new species, or even named. Like other fruit bats, though, it disperses seeds from the fruit in its diet, perhaps making the flying mammal crucial to its tropical rain forest ecosystem.
In all, the expeditions to Papua New Guinea”s Nakanai and Muller mountain ranges found 24 new species of frogs, 2 new mammals, and nearly a hundred new insects. The remote island country”s mountain ranges—which have yielded troves of new and unusual species in recent years—are accessible only by plane, boat, foot, or helicopter.
Photograph courtesy Stephen Richards, Conservation International
A feather-tailed opossum clings to a tree branch in Papua New Guinea”s Muller Range in September 2009. Though it has yet to be scientifically documented, the elusive species has been reported once before before, on a nearby mountain in 1985.
The possum may have been attempting to catch moths, the researchers said, as it was found near a light trap intended to lure nocturnal insects. Not much is known about the creature, though the structure of its tongue suggests a diet including nectar.
Published October 6, 2010