Scientists discovered legless lizard, a dwarf woodpecker and another 12 suspected new species in Brazil's fast-disappearing Cerrado grasslands, an environmental group said Tuesday.
The discoveries were made during a 29-day expedition by U.S. and Brazilian scientists in Brazil's vast wooded grasslands, one of the world's 34 biodiversity conservation hotspots, Conservation International said in a statement.
The grasslands are threatened by encroaching farmland; the expedition focused in and around the Serra Geral do Tocantins Ecological Station, a 2,765-square-mile protected area that is Cerrado's second largest.
The 14 suspected new species discovered include eight fish, three reptiles, one amphibian, one mammal and one bird, the group said.
The legless lizard, of the Bachia genus, resembles a snake due to its lack of legs and uses its pointed snout to move about its predominantly sandy environment.
Other outstanding new findings include a dwarf woodpecker of the genus Picumnus, and a horned toad of the genus Proceratophrys.
Besides the new species, the scientists also recorded several threatened animals such as the hyacinth macaw, marsh deer, three-banded armadillo, the Brazilian merganser and the dwarf tinamou, among more than 440 species of vertebrates documented.
"We need to know our protected areas better, especially the ecological stations whose principal objective is to generate scientific knowledge of Brazilian biodiversity, so little studied and already so severely threatened," said expedition leader Cristiano Nogueira.
Source: Discovery Channel