Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Malaysian species among 10 strange species discovered in 2008

As I was procrastinating in lab this afternoon, I Stumbled Upon an article: 10 Strange Species Discovered Last Year, which describes the top 10 species found and described in 2008, according to The International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University.

Lo and behold, TWO Malaysian species are among them!

Species #1: Opisthostoma vermiculum

Excerpt from the article:

This strange Malaysian gastropod has a shell that defies the standard laws of shell twisting. It coils along four separate axes, not three like most of its relatives.

Yes, it's the only known gastropod to possess four different coiling axes. Isn't it the craziest-looking thing? (Btw the BIS2C and former BIS1B kids should know this, but in case the others don't know: in simple explanation, gastropods are the class of animals that includes snails, limpets, slugs, etc.) A curious person might be wondering what the *toot* that thing is, so I have conveniently found a page describing this interesting snail.

The Ipoh girls would be proud to know that this snail was found at Gunung Rapat, Perak. The snail "appears to be restricted to a single limestone karst" -- so it must've been found at one of those pretty limestone mountains in Ipoh's vicinity. Genetics and evolution nerds (a subset that includes me) would be interested in the fact that the snail's special shell coils suggest "that the coiling strategy is under some form of strict developmental-gene control". Budding scientists might be interested to read the published paper on this precious snail (main authors are affiliated with WWF-Malaysia and Universiti Malaysia Sabah!)

Species #2: Phobaeticus chani (Chan's megastick)

We may not have the tallest skyscraper anymore, nor do we have the biggest cave in the world (since April 2009 -- damn Vietnamese cave) ... but now, we officially have the world's longest insect! YES, HAHA! And it was named after the Malaysian naturalist who found it:
Datuk Chan Chew Lun. Awesome. This stick insect was found at Ulu Moyog, Penampang district, Sabah.

(The article said "Borneo" when they described this insect, and I knew there was 50-50 chance it could be Malaysian!)

I don't know about you guys, but I'm very proud. I've always been proud of the fact that our beautiful country boasts of such vast biodiversity -- a significant portion of which is still untapped and, perhaps, also undiscovered. It's making me all excited again to go back and pursue research to explore and protect Malaysia's rich flora and fauna (after I am done, that is).

Who knows what other endemic species there are to be discovered! Our precious coily snail is already classified as critically endangered by IUCN and is particularly vulnerable to extinction since there is significant quarring activities (horr, aktiviti perlombongan) in the area where it is found. Eek!

Anyhoo, Malaysia is awesome. :)


Yoong said...

ARHHHH, after reading your entry, I was like, "WHAT?? Malaysia does not have the biggest cave in the world anymore?" Dahla selalu promote that fact to my friends. CES Vietnamese! I am thrilled to learn something about the snail, but I am more thrilled to learn that Malaysia has the LONGESTT insect in the world. Yeah, the name Chan sounds more like from Malaysia than Borneo (comparing all the countries considered to be in Borneo). Your entries made me homesick. Damn Adilla!

Khalis Afnan said...

shit i dah la so interested in ecology and evolution (my fav BIS 2b n 2c classes~ woooot)
when i read the article about that snail, i became more interested!!!
i think a light is shining through the what-will-my-emphasis-be-clouds
omg im so excited!!!!
tx yao hua for sharing this
procrastinating does pay sometimes

Khalis Afnan said...

owh sorry, not YH but Adilla
all these insects made me think it's YH's

Adilla said...

Hish! Baru nak marah cos YH almost got my credit lol.

But I'm happy for you Khalis :D. Finding a direction is great.

HainanBoy said...

it's okay Adilla, I don't care for credit.

ecology is interesting, but nothing beats evolution. know evolution very well, and you can probably out-debate anyone on anything that is biological and logical.

I never get those snail shells theories. There are theories on shell pattern evolution and population dynamics...then again, I haven't read up much on them.