New species of giant tortoise discovered in the Galapagos



by LORENZO CIOTTI

New species of giant tortoise discovered in the Galapagos

A new species of giant tortoise has just been discovered in the Galapagos archipelago in the heart of the Pacific Ocean that has become famous for its extraordinary fauna and finch studies by the British naturalist Charles Darwin.

The discovery of the new species was announce by the Ministry of the Environment, Water and Ecological Transition of Ecuador, to which the Galapagos Islands belong politically. Leading the study was an international research team led by scientists from Yale University and Newcastle University.

Scientists, coordinated by Professor Evelyn L. Jensen, professor at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology of the American university.

Scientists discover this new giant tortoise just today thanks to the DNA studies carried out on the specimens of the island of San Cristóbal, one of the seven islands of the archipelago where these animals live.

The species that lives today on the island is in fact distinct from the one with which it has always been confused, which would have become extinct. Today these reptiles are strictly protected, but have been brought to the brink of extinction due to exploitation for meat, the destruction of the natural habitat and the introduction of alien species.

The Galapagos tortoises are the largest land tortoises in the world, with a carapace length of around 150 centimeters and a weight that can reach 300 kg. Depending on the environment in which they grow, they can develop two different types of carapace called dome, in the specimens found in the flat and arid islands the classic saddle carapace occurs, given the drier, sparse and growing upward vegetation, such as the opuntia plants that grow in these driest islands of the Galapagos, all this is aimed at facilitating the extension of the animal so that it can easily reach the succulent vegetation from which they obtain hydration and minerals.

dome and typical of the wetter islands where the vegetation is more luxuriant and easily accessible. It is one of the longest-lived animals in the world, it can easily exceed 150 years.

Maldives: new species of rainbow fish discovered

A new species of rainbow fish has been discovered in the Maldives, a magnificent specimen with astonishing colors.

Scientist Ahmed Najeed in a study published in the journal Zookeys describes this new species of fish sighted in the twilight zone of the ocean, near the Maldives: "It has always been foreign scientists who have described species found in the Maldives without much involvement on the part of of local scientists, even those endemic to the Maldives.

This time it's different and being part of something for the first time was really exciting, especially having the opportunity to work alongside the best ichthyologists on such an elegant and beautiful species." Pink-veiled fairy wrasse, Cirrhilabrus finifenmaa, is a bony fish belonging to the wrasse family that lives in the ravines of coral reefs, between 40 and 70 meters deep.

The new species was first sighted in the 1990s, but until now it was believed to be the adult of another species already known to scientists, Cirrhilabrus rubrisquamis. However, morphological and genetic studies have determined that they are two completely distinct species.