A research expedition to Indonesia's Foja Mountains in 2008 resulted in the discovery of a veritable menagerie of animals that had never before been identified by scientists.
The organizations behind the journey, Conservation International and the National Geographic Society, announced their findings Monday, timed to coincide with the U.N.-declared International Year of Biodiversity. The area, located in the Papua province of the island of New Guinea, has long been known for its rich biodiversity.
Among their discoveries was this multicolored pigeon, Ducula sp. nov. The pigeon was discovered by Neville Kemp and was seen four times on the 2008 expedition, though it had never been documented before that. That led scientists to believe the pigeon has a very small population and had therefore gone unseen, according to Conservation International.
Another newly discovered resident of the Foja Mountains is this long-nosed tree frog, Litoria sp. nov.
National Geographic calls the frog's discovery a happy accident; it happened into the camp kitchen and perched itself on a bag of rice, where herpetologist Paul Oliver of Australia's University of Adelaide spotted it.
For reasons not yet fully understood by scientists, the frog's nose points upward when it calls out and falls flaccid when it's quiet.
This furry little guy (Dorcopsulus sp. nov.) was brought to the scientists' attention by a group of locals who were helping out with the expedition, according to National Geographic. About the size of a rabbit, it turned out to be the smallest wallaby in the world and is the smallest member of the family Macropodidae, the evolutionary group of "true kangaroos."
This teensy tree mouse (Pogonomys sp. nov.) was discovered by the Smithsonian Institution's Kristofer Helgen. Though it hasn't been confirmed, it is likely a new species, which would make it one of many mouse and rat species that are native to the area.
This mouse uses the rain forest's network of tree branches and vines "almost like a highway in the forest," said Helgen. "It hardly ever has to go down and touch the ground."
This bent-toed gecko (Crytodactylus sp. nov.) was discovered when its eyes reflected in a passing flashlight.
"Interestingly the local guides, who were forest people and afraid of very little, refused to touch the geckos and would not catch them," said the University of Adelaide's Oliver. "I could not work out why they feared them."
Perhaps a little lower on the cute spectrum than its fellow newly discovered Indonesian creatures is this bat, Syconycteris sp. nov. The nocturnal blossom bat was likened by Helgen to a hummingbird because it uses its long tongue to suck nectar out of flowers, in turn acting as a pollinator as it moves from plant to plant.
Hari Sutrisno of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences uses a bright light and some sheeting to attract moths during the night--in hopes of finding something new. More than two dozen moths and butterflies found on the expedition could turn out to be new species, according to National Geographic.