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Extinction Countdown

Japan Could Lose 561 Plant Species by the Next Century

Polemonium kiushianum

A massive new study of Japan’s native plants reveals an extinction crisis in the making. The study examined 1,618 threatened Japanese vascular plant species, most of which can be only be found in extremely limited ranges and many of which already face shrinking populations. According to a paper published June 12 in PLoS ONE, the [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Killifishes Killed Off: 2 Fish Species May Be Extinct in the Wild

extinct

Is it time to add two more species to the list of recent extinctions? New research indicates that two critically endangered fish species may now be extinct in the wild following the destruction of their only habitats. The species in question were both killifishes, an order of thumb-size fishes that live in small bodies of [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Microjewels: Stunningly Beautiful Snails Going Extinct as Soon as They Are Discovered

microjewel

You need to have pretty good eyesight to see the tiny snails from the genus Plectostoma. These almost impossibly small gastropods from Malaysia and Thailand only reach a millimeter or two in width, but they make up for their lack of size with their stunning beauty. The 31 Plectostoma species described in a new paper [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Sunday Species Snapshot: Panamanian Golden Frog

panamanian golden frog

These tiny, brightly colored amphibians pack a potent neurotoxin on their skin. That toxin protected them from predators, but it won’t save them from extinction. They haven’t been seen in the wild in seven years. Species name: Panamanian golden frog (Atelopus zeteki). This is actually a misnomer. These “frogs” are actually toads! Where found: The [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Sunday Species Snapshot: Did the Axolotl Just Go Extinct?

axolotl

In 2009 scientists reported that the population of one of the world’s most bizarre creatures has dropped by 90 percent over the previous four years. Flash forward four more years and it now appears that Mexico’s “water monster” is approaching extinction in the wild. Species name: Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum), also known as the “water monster” [...]

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Extinction Countdown

How the Western Black Rhino Went Extinct

western black rhino

Oh what a difference a century makes. At the beginning of the 20th century, an estimated one million black rhinoceroses from four different subspecies roamed the savannas of Africa. By 2001 that number had dropped to about 2,300 black rhinos and just three subspecies. This is the tale of how we lost one of those [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Weird Frog Discovered by Charles Darwin May Be Extinct

southern darwin's frog

It looks like we’ve lost another one. The weird and unusual Chile Darwin’s frog (Rhinoderma rufum), whose tadpoles grew inside the vocal sacs of adult males, appears to be extinct: a four-year quest failed to turn up any evidence that the species still exists. The frogs were last seen in 1980. As you might guess [...]

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Extinction Countdown

After 13-Year Quest, Clouded Leopards Confirmed Extinct in Taiwan

formosan clouded leopard

Thirteen years, 1,500 infrared cameras, hundreds of catnip-baited hair traps and an almost incalculable number of hours in the field have confirmed what scientists have long feared: the Formosan clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa brachyura) is in all likelihood extinct. The subspecies, endemic to Taiwan, was wiped out by poaching, trade in its pelts during the [...]

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Extinction Countdown

When Did the Barbary Lion Really Go Extinct?

Barbary_lion Pease

History books tell us that the last wild Barbary lion (Panthera leo leo) was probably killed in 1922 by a French colonial hunter in Morocco. But in repeating the tale of this well-documented death, the history books may have left a chapter or two out of the story. Barbary, or Atlas, lions once roamed throughout [...]

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Extinction Countdown

‘Extinct’ Indian Gecko Rediscovered After 135 Years

Geckoella jeyporensis

In 1877 a British lieutenant colonel and naturalist named R.H. Beddome looked under a rock in the Indian state of Orissa and discovered a new gecko species. That was the last time it was ever seen. Until now. After more than 135 years, the Jeypore ground gecko (Geckoella Jeyporensis) has been rediscovered by a team [...]

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