"..a bardy view!"

New species in the Philippines! Singing fish and ruthless spiders…

An expedition by the University of the Philippines and the California Academy of Sciences has discovered 75 new species endemic to the islands according to a report in the GMA News.

A CAS spokesman has said that "the new species have always been there, but only discovered now".

Well, they're not new then are they! Then again how does he know if they've only just been found? Some of these creatures are so tiny they are barely visible on a thumbnail, so theoretically there must be millions of "new" species just waiting for a break.

The names of some of these animals and insects are baffling. For example there is the juvenile singing catfish and the assassin spider. I never new catfish sing, and can only ponder as to whether the juvenile ones have yet to break their voices. Or more likely perhaps they are into hip-hop as opposed to their elders which hang around the fishy karaoke bars singing ballads.

The assassin spider is much more worrying. The name suggests it has a hit list. I'll be watching my back for that one.

A quick search on the web states that these spiders are extremely unusual because they have necks. They come from the families Archaeidae and Mecysmaucheniidae and prey on other spiders. (Spiders called assassins linked to families? Hmmm! I think I know where this is going!)

A 40 million year-old fossilised Assassin Spider was found in Europe in 1841, and four decades later in 1882 a live one was found in Madagascar. Since then they have been proved native to Australia and South Africa, with distant relations in South America. Well, they've been found in the Philippines now. This is a big family!

The good news is that these arachnids are barely the size of a lemon pip, and are harmless to humans. Whoever named it the "Assassin" must have been a tabloid headline writer. Maybe he's working for the National Geographic, judging by their sensationalised account of the ugly brute, which they reported as "new" five years ago in….Madagascar!


June 9, 2011 - Posted by | Conservation, Education, Science, The Philippines, Travel | , , , , , ,


  1. For a moment there you had me worried as well. Thanks be that those assassins are harmless. The singing fish sound scary as well. Here’s hoping they sound better than current musicians.


    Comment by Spook Moor | June 10, 2011 | Reply

  2. Hi Kevin. There’s actually a better report in the Guardian and mentions a “laughing cicada”.
    Laughing insects, singing fish – whatever next?
    Dancing lizards perhaps? It wouldn’t surprise me!


    Comment by Bar De Ness | June 10, 2011 | Reply

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