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Treasure island's 600 unique discoveries under threat

The animals have been discovered in the past decade, a new report has revealed. But many of the newly discovered plants and creatures are under threat, particularly from the destruction of Madagascar's forests, conservation charity WWF warned.

The 'Treasure Island: New biodiversity in Madagascar' report from WWF compiles scientific discoveries made on the African island between 1999 and 2010, revealing that experts identified more than 615 new species in that time. Among the new finds were 41 mammals, 385 plants, 61 reptiles, 69 amphibians, 17 fish and 42 invertebrates.

Key discoveries include a 10cm-long Berthe's mouse lemur, which is the world's smallest known primate, and the Tahina palm which flowers once in a lifetime.

Researchers also found the Komac's golden orb spider which spins one-metre golden webs, and a colour-changing gecko that can change from brown to bright blue during courtship.

Irish Independent