23 April 2010

Amorous Slug Discovered In Borneo Rainforest

A slug that fires "love darts" at its chosen mate is among more than 120 new species of wildlife found on the island of Borneo.

New species of slug

The newly discovered slug fires 'love darts' at the object of its affections

Also among the new discoveries listed in a report by global conservation group WWF are a frog with no lungs which breathes through its skin, an orange snake and the world's largest stick insect.

There is also a frog which can fly and which changes its skin and eye colour.

The study is part of a project begun in 2007 and aimed at saving one of the world's oldest rainforests, a site shared between Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.

New species of frog

The lungless frog has an aerodynamic shape

"The challenge is to ensure that these precious landscapes are still intact for future generations," said the report on the 85,000 square miles.

It was described by Charles Darwin as "one great luxuriant hothouse made by nature for herself".

Explorers have been visiting Borneo for centuries and vast tracts of its interior have still to be explored, said project leader Adam Tomasek.

"If this stretch of irreplaceable rain forest can be conserved for our children, the promise of more discoveries must be a tantalising one for the next generation of researchers to contemplate," he said.

New species of stick insect

The world's largest stick insect measures 56.7cm long

In total, 67 plants, 29 invertebrates, 17 fish, five frogs, three snakes and two lizards and a brand new species of bird were discovered, said the report.

Borneo has long been known as a hub for monster insects, including giant cockroaches.

It is home to 10 species of primate, more than 350 birds, 150 reptiles and amphibians and 10,000 plants that are found nowhere else in the world.

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