Category Archives: misc

The Blue Auction Details

The 10 new fish that need naming are:

blue_Pterois.jpgPterois ToBeDetermined Lionfish are one of the most spectacular and dangerous of reef fishes, having poisonous spines that cause excruciating pain for up to three days after a wound is inflicted. Docile during the day, they emerge just before sunset and perform elaborate courtship displays with their showy fins extended. This species can “herd” small fish by throwing its pectoral fins out like a net, encircling its prey, and then striking out with lightning speed to ingest its quarry whole. First collected from Cendrawasih Bay, this new species has now been photographed from Northern Sulawesi to eastern Papua New Guinea..

blue_Pterocaesio.jpg Pterocaesio ToBeDetermined – Colorful fusiliers typically form large conspicuous shoals of thousands of individuals that swirl around divers visiting outer reef slopes. This species is one of the smaller but more vividly colored of the known fusiliers, with gold blaze across its body making it visible even in the depths.

blue_Pseudochromis.jpgPseudochromis ToBeDeterminedDistantly related to groupers, the dottybacks are secretive fish highly sought by advanced scuba divers. This distinctive species — with yellow and black “racing stripes,” blue eyes and cherry belly — was discovered amid the deep reefs in Triton Bay, where it typically lives in mated pairs and displays a strong curiosity for scuba divers. Unlike many fish, dottybacks are committed parents and carefully care for their eggs until they hatch.

blue_Pseudanthia.jpg Pseudanthias ToBeDetermined - Fairy basslets form massive colorful shoals that hover a few meters above the reef, feeding on plankton. All fairy basslets mature first as females, later changing sex to become males as they grow larger. Males typically oversee a harem of up to 20 females. This species has been collected only from deep reefs in Cendrawasih Bay.

blue_Pictichromis2.jpgPictichromis ToBeDetermined - Known only from Cendrawasih Bay in the eastern Bird’s Head, this gorgeous magenta and yellow fish inquisitively investigates any divers that come near it. It is normally found below 15m depth and hides under reef overhangs. Its vibrant colours make it perhaps the most beautiful of the dottybacks.

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Melanotaenia ToBeDetermined – The lone freshwater fish at auction, this rainbowfish has been found in only two small mountain streams on the island of Batanta in the Bird’s Head. With approximately 60 known species in this family of fish, each having a very limited distribution, rainbowfish have inspired a cult following. The striking males of this species can “flash” irridiscent blue colors to attract mates in the deep pools that form below stunning waterfalls in the streams on Batanta.

blue_Hemiscyllium_2.jpg Hemiscyllium ToBeDetermined – The completely singular evolutionary path this shark has taken gives it pectoral fins uniquely developed for walking. This form of motion, unknown in other sharks, made this distinctive species an international media darling when it was discovered last year. Although it can swim if frightened, this shark commonly crawls across shallow coral reefs in search of its prey. Also notable are the male’s unusually large clasper organs. This shark is known only from Cendrawasih Bay.

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Corythoichthys ToBeDetermined – Pipefish, like their seahorse relatives, stand out in the fish world because of their “male pregnancy” — the female deposits her fertilized eggs in a specialized pouch on the male’s belly and he tends the eggs until they hatch. The subtle but ornate color pattern on this new species differentiates it from other pipefish, while also keeping it camouflaged on the reef’s shallow coral heads and in gorgonian sea fans.

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Chrysiptera ToBeDetermined – Considered the gems of the coral reef, brightly-colored Chrysiptera damselfish are found exclusively in areas of healthy coral. Although small, these fish can live up to 15 years and produce copious numbers of offspring — with the males actually taking the primary role in tending the eggs. The beautiful species on auction is known only from Sebakor Bay in the Bird’s Head and was discovered in April 2006.

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Paracheilinus ToBeDeterminedConsidered the most spectacularly colored of all coral reef fishes, flasher wrasse derive their common name from the unique courtship behavior of the males – which rise up in the water column and suddenly “flash” electric neon colors while simultaneously erecting their fins to draw the attention of potential mates. Photographing a male in full courtship display is considered a “holy grail” for accomplished underwater photographers. This species is arguably the most stunning of all the flashers (there are 16 known species), and was discovered in April 2006. It is known only from the southern Bird’s Head Seascape, from Raja Ampat to Triton Bay.

Name a New Species or Discover One Yourself!

And we’re back! After a little hiatus we are back and ready to start telling you about the new species being discovered all the time.

To start things off….The Blue Auction! Where you can bid for the naming rights of 10 marine species. Also up for bid is a chance to go on an expedition with scientists and search for more undiscovered marine species.

Francesco M. Bongiovanni, President of the Monaco-Asia Society, Peter Seligmann, Chairman & CEO of Conservation International, Hugh Edmeades, Chariman of Christie’s,

are pleased to present The Blue Auction, which shall take place at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, Principality of Monaco, on September 20th, 2007
under the High Patronage and in the presence of

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco

and for the benefit of marine biodiversity conservation programs undertaken by
Conservation International

All of the species in The Blue Auction were discovered by world-renowned fish scientist Dr. Gerry Allen and CI’s Bird’s Head Regional Coordinator Dr. Mark Erdmann during surveys in the Bird’s Head in 2006 and 2007, and the descriptions of the species (save for their commemorative names) have already been prepared by them. Dr. Allen has described over 400 species of fish during his illustrious career, and has arranged for all of The Blue Auction species descriptions to be published in a single special edition of the scientific journal Aqua, the International Journal of Ichthyology in the final quarter of 2007. The winning bidders for each of The Blue Auction species will receive a large format photograph of the species with the commemorative species name embossed on the photograph, in addition to both hard copy and electronic versions of the special edition of Aqua formalizing their species name.

Name a Spider!

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Go to www.nameaspider.com and immortalize yourself as a creepy crawly spider! Or give someone a truly unique gift.

The Queensland Museum has just launched a fundraising initiative to sell the naming rights to a limited number of yet to be scientifically described spiders from Australia. Bank of Queensland Managing Director, Mr David Liddy was first and named a new species of Ant spider, Habronestes boq, after the Bank of Queensland.

Money raised will help scientists to continue their extensive research into Australia’s remarkable biodiversity.

Lab Mimics Evolution of Butterflies

Here’s some interesting news considering the recent buzz surrounding the Polargrizz discovery.
It seems that scientists may have mimicked evolution by breeding 2 species of butterflies to create a butterfly that almost exactly matches a 3rd butterfly species found in the wild.

heliconius_butterflies
Heliconius cydno, has yellow bands across its forewings. (upper left of photo)
Heliconius melpomene, has wings with bright red bands. (upper right of photo)
Heliconius heurippa, has BOTH yellow and red bands. This caused biologists to theorize that it may be a hybrid of the two other species. (center of photo)

Researchers then bred H. cydno and H. melpomene to see if they could recreate the look of H. heurippa. Just three generations of interbreeding later and they had themselves a critter that looked remarkably like H. heurippa.

The researchers’ findings were published in today’s issue of Nature, Speciation by hybridization in Heliconius butterflies (subscription required). National Geographic also published a story about the research, Two Butterfly Species Evolved Into Third, Study Finds.

Tiktaalik Update

I was flipping thru channels late the other night when I saw Dr. Ted Daeschler and Tiktaalik on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report. I missed the first few minutes but was happy to find the entire interview available on Comedy Central’s site.

Deaschler on Colbert

If you missed it definitely check this out – it was great!
(You’ll need Windows Media Player)

Polargrizz?

Okay, so this isn’t exactly a “new” species story but it’s interesting nonetheless.

polargrizzThe first Polar bear / Grizzly bear hybrid found in the wild has been genetically confirmed to be the offspring of a female polar bear and a male Grizzly bear. A man who paid somewhere around $50,000 to hunt Polar bears shot and killed the male bear back in April.

CNN has the story, Grizzly-polar bear hybrid found as well as Canada’s National Post, Name that bear.

Some names floating around are Polargrizz, Grolar bear, Nanaluk, Pizzly, or simply half-breed. What would you name this new hybrid species? And do you think this is a sign of things to come or just a fluke?