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Teenagers discover two new scorpion species.


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I have just spotted the following in the news.

Two new species of scorpion found by two teenagers are among 146 new species of animal and plant that were discovered last year.

Harper Forbes, 19, and Prakrit Jain, 18, both students, discovered two new-to-science scorpions.

The budding scientists first noticed the unidentified species whilst taking part in iNaturalist - a joint initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society.

The pair, from the Bay Area in California, went into the field to find, collect, and eventually describe them.

Paruroctonus soda and Paruroctonus conclusus are small, desert-dwelling scorpions from the dry, salty lake beds of Central and Southern California.

While P. soda inhabits federally protected land, P. conclusus can only be found on a narrow strip of unprotected land - about a mile long and only a few feet wide in some places - making the entire species highly vulnerable to human-driven threats.

Mr Forbes said: “The entire species could be wiped out with the construction of a single solar farm, mine, or housing development. Mapping the biodiversity of a given area can help build the case for why that land should be protected.”

Mr Forbes and Mr Jain are passionate about ecology, and are on a mission to document every species of the arachnid in California.

The new species were listed by the California Academy of Sciences and new species include fish, rays, lizards, spiders, scorpions and plants.

In total, researchers at the California Academy of Sciences added 44 types of lizard, 30 ants, 14 sea slugs, 14 flowering plants, 13 sea stars, seven fish, four beetles, four sharks, three moths, three worms, two scorpions, two spiders, two lichens, one toad, one clam, one aphid, and one sea biscuit to the tree of life.

Dr Shannon Bennett, the academy’s virologist and chief of science, said: "New species research is critical for understanding the diversity of life on Earth and identifying ecosystems most in need of protection.

“As we’ve seen at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15), biodiversity science is at the forefront of global conservation action and is key in unifying nations and equipping them with the tools and information necessary to reverse species extinction rates by 2030.

“By uncovering and documenting new species, we can contribute to this landmark goal and ensure that our natural world remains rich and diverse for generations to come.”

Scientists made their finds across six continents and three oceans, from isolated mountain peaks to hundreds of feet beneath the ocean’s surface.

New Caledonia in the Pacific is now the home of 28 new species of Bavayia gecko, more than doubling the known number.

Dr Aaron Bauer, research associate at the academy, said: “Though all species within the genus physically look quite similar, we discovered they are in fact genetically distinct.

“Nearly every mountain in New Caledonia hosts a unique Bavayia species.”

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