Biodiversity News

Hope for ‘lost’ shark

A television crew have apparently confirmed the continued existence of the Pondicherry Shark, which was feared to be extinct having not been seen with certainty since the 1970s. This small species resembles the more familiar reef sharks, and is known from very few scattered records in shallow coastal waters and rivers in southern Asia. If it does survive, the Pondicherry Shark is likely to be extremely rare, but it is hoped that this discovery will pave the way for targeted conservation effort and further monitoring.

Butterfly invasion

The UK is experiencing an invasion of migratory Painted Lady butterflies in what is being described as a ‘once in a decade’ event. The offspring of butterflies that reached Britain earlier in the summer are now beginning to emerge in great numbers, and this is being boosted further by the continued arrival of migrants from continental Europe. It remains to be seen whether the current invasion will top the last ‘Painted Lady year’, in 2009, during which an estimated 11 million butterflies arrived in the country.

New albatross species

A new species of long-extinct albatross has been described after the discovery of a skull dated from the Pliocene period, around three million years ago. The species, Aldiomedes angustirostris, was far smaller than any modern-day albatross, and had a much narrower bill, which suggests that it was a specialised fish-eater. This finding shows that albatrosses were formerly more diverse, but smaller species may have disappeared as competing fish-eating seabirds, such as cormorants and gannets, became more common.