Thursday, May 21, 2009

Kiwa hirsuta

My daughter sent me an email today with a sly reference to the discovery of Kiwa hirsuta. She clearly assumed I would know what that was, but I didn't. When I looked it up, it turned out to be a new genus and species of carnivorous crab discovered in 2005 on the floor of the southern part of the Pacific Ocean by scientists in submarines. The Japanese have already produced a kiwa hirsuta stuffed toy, but the picture below is the actual animal. It turns out that Wikipedia has an index devoted to Animals Described in the 21st Century and that is where I found all the friends of kiwa hirsuta who are pictures below.

Kiwa hirsuta

Grey-faced Sengi

Serendip Scops Owl

Purple Frog

Gorgeted Puffleg

Ghost Slug

Arunchal Macaque

Psychedelic Frogfish

Many of these creatures are listed as endangered at the same time they are listed as discovered. Huge amounts of concern and equally huge expenditures by the world's rich countries over the past several decades have not significantly slowed down habitat destruction in the poor world, carried out for the sake of quick timber profits and unsustainable one-crop agriculture as abetted by weak, corrupt local governments. But who is that timber produced for? Who are those unsustainable single crops produced for? They are mostly sold to that same rich world that somehow thinks it is in a position to shake its collective finger at the poor world for habitat destruction.

There is a parallel List of Animals Named after Celebrities. The famous people so honored include Adolf Hitler, whose Latinized surname still attaches to a blind beetle found in humid Slovenian caves, Anophthalmus hitleri. But male rock musicians are clearly the most favored celebrities, reflecting the wannabe sentiments of the nerdy male American scientists who do most of the naming.