A frog sporting cowboy-esque white fringes along its legs and a spur on each “heel.” A catfish fitted with extra-protective armor covered in spines to keep hungry piranhas at bay. An uncharacteristically dainty cricket streaked with colors so vibrant scientists named it “Crayola” katydid. These are the new species on the block, MSNBC reports.
Embedded in the forests of the South American country of Suriname, they are among 46 species discovered by scientists on a three-week expedition in 2010, environmental nonprofit Conservation International announced on Tuesday.
“As a scientist, it is thrilling to study these remote forests where countless new discoveries await,” said Trond Larsen, director of the program. “Especially since we believe that protecting these landscapes while they remain pristine provides perhaps the greatest opportunity for maintaining globally important biodiversity and the ecosystems people depend upon for generations to come.”
The tour, which meandered along the Kutari and Sipaliwini rivers, was part of the organization’s Rapid Assessment Program aimed at documenting the region’s flora and fauna. A team of 53 scientists, accompanied by an entourage of students and members of the indigenous Trio group, scoured remote sites in the southwest of the country and recorded 1300 known life forms, stumbling on dozens of new ones along their way. These will now join the ranks of the 8.7 million known species in the world, according to a 2011 BBC report.
One of the creatures can count luck as a key attribute. Scientists on the expedition came to the rescue of an armored catfish, one of a potentially new species, on the verge of being devoured by a local guide in the mood for a mid-day snack.