If you were driving along a highway in Maine - located on the east coast of the United States - past pine trees and summer cottages, you might not give a ditch of rust-colored water a second thought, unless you had the bad luck to drive into it. In this week’s podcast, Ari Daniel meets some scientists who are wading into the rusty water and finding a whole ecosystem of unusual life forms.
Meet the olinguito, Bassaricyon neblina, the first new species of carnivore found in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years!
The olinguito lives in high elevation Andean cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador. It spends most of its time high up in trees and is active at night.
Specimens had been in museum cabinets for more than a century, but Smithsonian researchers confirmed its status as a distinct species only recently.
The Zurqui All-Diptera Biodiversity Inventory (ZADBI), a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to estimate fly biodiversity within a Costa Rican cloud forest, will contribute content and educational resources to EOL. This effort is based on an international collaboration of fly experts, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the Costa Rican Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio). INBio is also an EOL Content Partner.
The project anticipates the discovery of at least 3,000 species, most of which will be new. View pictures from the field:
Some species are born invaders, like bittersweet nightshade, a non-native vine with purple flowers and red berries. So what makes it such a successful space invader while other foreign plants never make it? It turns out the answer may be right underfoot. Ecologists Jean Burns and Angela Brandt have devised clever experiments to get to the root of the matter.