Purring monkey discovered in the Amazon rainforest | WWF Hong Kong

Purring monkey discovered in the Amazon rainforest

30 October 2013

At least 441 new species of animals and plants have been discovered over the past four years in the vast, underexplored rainforest of the Amazon. The discoveries from 2010 to 2013, include a flame-patterned lizard, a bronze-legged poison dart frog, a vegetarian piranha and a monkey that purrs like a cat.

Discovered by a diverse number of dedicated scientists and compiled for the first time by WWF, the new species add up to at an astounding 258 plants, 84 fish, 58 amphibians, 22 reptiles, 18 birds and 1 mammal. This doesn’t even include the countless discoveries of insects and other invertebrates. With an average of two new species identified every week for the past four years, it’s clear that the extraordinary Amazon remains one of the most important centres of global biodiversity.”

These are three of the most remarkable species discovered:

Caqueta titi monkey, or Callicebus caquetensis
This is one of about 20 species of titi monkey, which all live in the Amazon basin. And the babies have an endearing trait. “When they feel very content they purr towards each other,” explained scientist Thomas Defler.

Cercosaura hypnoides
This flame-patterned and elusive lizard was described from the hatchlings of eggs collected by scientists in the Colombian Amazon

Passiflora longifilamentosa
This new species of passion flower—evergreen climbers that sprout flowers and brightly colored fruits—was found in the Brazilian state of Para. Quirky corona filaments that resemble spaghetti burst out of the flower's center.

Unique but threatened
All new to science, the recently discovered plants and animals have something else in common too. With very restricted ranges, many of the new discoveries are thought to be endemic to small parts of the Amazon rainforest – and found nowhere else in the world. This makes them even more vulnerable to the threat of deforestation that’s currently destroying three football pitches of rainforest every minute across the Amazon.

The discovery of these new species reaffirms the importance of stepping-up commitments to conserve and sustainably manage the unique biodiversity and also the goods and services provided by the rainforests to the people and businesses of the region.

Start making a difference today with these actions:

Buy FSC-certified wood and paper
FSC products come from well-managed forests, so you're choosing to keep forests standing over illegal or unsustainable logging. Look out for the FSC label on everything from garden furniture to toilet tissue.

Recycle your old gadgets
Mining for minerals can cause deforestation and pollution in rainforests. You can reduce this by recycling your gadgets when they're broken.

Buy forest friendly foods
Certification schemes help you find foods that make a positive difference to forests and people who live in them. Look for the Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance symbols, and products containing sustainably sourced palm oil.

Reduce your energy use
Burning less oil and gas in our cars, boilers and power stations means less call to dig for oil in pristine rainforests. It also reduces dangerous carbon pollution, lessening the impact on the climate, both here and in the Amazon.