An astonishing 1060 new species have been identified in New Guinea, including 580 invertebrates, 134 amphibians, 71 varieties of fish and 2 birds among others.
A report released by WWF, Final Frontier: Newly Discovered species of New Guinea (1998 - 2008), states that these species have been found on the tropical island over a period of 10 years.
However, many of these unique creatures are increasingly facing the threat of extinction due to poor planning and unsustainable development in the area, particularly from logging and forest conversion to agriculture.
This report shows that New Guinea's forests and rivers are among the richest and most biodiverse in the world. But it also shows us that unchecked human demand can push even the wealthiest environments to bankruptcy, states Dr. Neil Stronach, WWF Western Melanesia's Program Representative.
The island of Guinea is home to some of Asia's most pristine wetlands and rivers. Among the 71 varieties of fish identified were seven brightly colored new species of rainbow fish were identified in PNG and Papua in Indonesia over the ten-year period, including Allen's rainbow fish (Chilatherina alleni).
The report states that apart from the already identified species, there are many others which are still awaiting further analysis and official scientific descriptions. As for instance, the report mentions that the Bishop Museum in Hawaii has yet to describe about 150 species of frogs, snakes and lizards collected during recent expeditions to New Guinea19.
This new report has shed new light on the critical role played by the island in the development of the modern sciences of evolution and biogeography.
Check the unique images of some of the newly discovered species below:
The Giant Bent-Toed Gecko. G.R.Allen,WWF/handout.
The striking blue Chrysiptera cymatilis. G.R.Allen,WWF/handout.
Chilatherina Alleni rainbow fish. G.R.Allen,WWF/handout.
The wattled smoky honeyeater. G.R.Allen,WWF/handout.
The Cophixalus balbus. G.R.Allen,WWF/handout.
The most striking new reptiles identified in New Guinea in the last decade are the three new monitor lizards discovered on tiny islands off the Vogelkop (Bird's Head) Peninsula of Papua in Indonesia. G.R.Allen,WWF/handout.