Australian science agency discovers 200 new species in 12 months

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CANBERRA, June 27 (Xinhua) -- The macadamia weevil and deepwater catshark are among more than 80 new species of animals and plants discovered by the national Australian science agency in the past year.

"Identifying new species is the most fun a taxonomist can have," Lessard said.

Roughly three quarters of Australia's native species do not occur anywhere else in the world, but the nation ranks fourth in the world for the most extinctions on a country basis, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.

One new species identified was the weevil Kuschelorhynchus macadamiae, which is found around macadamia trees - it was named in honor of late Chilean weevil expert, Guillermo Kuschel.

Another species identified was a shrubby daisy with small white flowers from Western Australia, of which there are estimated to be fewer than 20 plants in the wild.

The Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has unveiled the identification of three fish species, three plant species and 206 insect species, as reported in the Australian media.

Some of the new species were found more than a century ago, but it has taken this long for them to be identified, according to CSIRO insect specialist Dr Bryan Lessard.

"A lot of these new species were actually found in our natural history collection.

The newly identified species take their place alongside more than 800,000 animals and plants native to Australia, including approximately 800 birds and 5,000 fish.

"Not many people realize (the CSIRO) actually has Australia's largest natural history collection - over 15 million specimens."

"It is the first step in being able to better manage our biodiversity."

"There are still 75 percent of species out there that we don't know about in Australia and the world," Lessard told ABC Radio on Tuesday.