This was an interesting, scary, and somehow inspiring bit of historical information on the early naturalists. One of my favorite parts was a quote from one of the all-time greats, Alfred Russel Wallace.
“I trembled with excitement as I saw it coming majestically toward me,” Alfred Russel Wallace wrote, of a spectacular butterfly in the East Indies, “& could hardly believe I had really obtained it till I had taken it out my net and gazed upon its gorgeous wings of velvet black & brilliant green, its golden body & crimson breast … I have certainly never seen a more gorgeous insect.” Naturalists were also caught up body and soul in the great intellectual enterprise of collecting, classifying and coming to terms with the diversity of life on Earth.
New tiny salamander species found in Georgia - Photograph (c)Bill Peterman
I just wanted to share this link to a new species of crayfish found in the US: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE70J0GP20110120
It is a large species that had never been seen before. The article points out how neat it is that people can still explore and make new biological discovers even in populated parts of the US. I’m not talking about genetists splitting existing species into multiple species, I’m talking about truly new species that have never been described by science. It reminded me of a friend, Bill Peterman, who found a new species (and Genus!) of salamander in Georgia a couple years ago. His published description of the new species (Urspelerpes brucei) can be found here
Camp, C.D., W.E. Peterman, J.R. Milanovich, T. Lamb, J.C. Maerz, and D.B. Wake. 2009. A new genus and species of lungless salamander (family Plethodontidae) from the Appalachian highlands of the south-eastern United States. Journal of Zoology 279:86– 94.