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New scorpion species discovered in Penang

 | December 7, 2017

The species was discovered in the Penang Hill rainforest, and is part of the ghost scorpion biological group.


© 2017 Phil Torres/bioGraphic

PETALING JAYA: A new species of scorpion has been discovered in Penang, along with several other animal species that had never been known to exist in the state.

The scorpions, known as ghost scorpions, were discovered on Penang Hill during a rainforest survey conducted by the California Academy of Sciences and several local partner institutions.

Arachnologist Lauren Esposito and postdoctoral fellow Stephanie Loria made the find.

“We had a hunch this new species was out there, but it was really a matter of odds,” she said in a report by Science Daily.

“For every hundred logs or so we turn over, we find a scorpion. We got lucky.”

Two other new species were also discovered: an iridescent fly that lives among coastal plants, as well as a species of tardigrade.

The survey also discovered various species that had never been known to exist in Penang, including bird, bat, orchid, algae, frog, fly, mammal, ant, mosquito, and spider species.

Meg Lowman, who led the expedition, said Penang’s forests were “bursting with undocumented diversity”, especially in the treetops which she said no one had surveyed before.

The expedition was sponsored by The Habitat Foundation.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng emphasised the importance of the rainforest after the conclusion of the survey.

“All of us have a common future in our forests. Forests are critical for our health. If you keep and protect and preserve your rainforests, people will come to enjoy and celebrate them,” he was quoted as saying.

Penang Hill has been proposed as part of a Unesco biosphere reserve in 2018, under Unesco’s Man and the Biosphere Programme.

Photo originally appeared in bioGraphic, an online magazine about nature and sustainability powered by the California Academy of Sciences.


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