A thumbnail-sized frog with a long snout, a brilliant green katydid with bright pink eyes and a mouse with a white-tipped tail are among 200 species scientists have discovered in Papua New Guinea.
The findings were unveiled this week by Washington D.C.-based Conservation International, whose researchers discovered a kaleidoscopic array of critters during two expeditions to the South Pacific island nation in 2009.
Among the finds: 24 frog species, scores of spiders and around 100 insects including ants and dragonflies that appear to have never been described in scientific literature before, the conservation group said.
"They tell us how little we still know about the world," research team leader Stephen Richards said Thursday. "There's a lot of concern, quite rightly, about biodiversity loss and climate change and the impacts on biodiversity and what biodiversity means to us.... Then we do projects like this and we discover, 'Hey -- we don't even know what biodiversity is out there.' "
In April 2009, the scientists flew to the Nakanai Mountains of the island of New Britain, and then traveled by dugout canoe, on foot and by helicopter to a remote research area of the rainforest. There, they found scores of fascinating animals, Richards said, including a mouse with a white-tipped tail that appears to have no close relatives and represents an entirely new genus.