More species near extinction, says conservation group

'Darwin's Frog', endemic in Chile, is one of many species in danger of extinction. Photo: EPA

A freshwater shrimp, an island-dwelling lizard and a pupfish from Arizona have been declared extinct, while nearly 21,000 species are at risk of dying out, an updated "red list" released yesterday showed.

Wednesday, 3 July, 2013, 3:19am

Harlequin ladybird shows dangers of alien species as biological control

The harlequin has hit other ladybird species. Photo: SCMP

The harlequin ladybird was once a stalwart ally of greenhouse owners around the world. Native to Japan, Korea and other parts of eastern Asia, the bright red beetles were prized for their aphid-eating abilities - until they caused serious declines in other ladybird populations.

27 May 2013 - 5:59am

Crazy ant invades the US South

The crazy ants are the size of a flea. Photo: SCMP

The southern United States is being invaded - again. This time it is erratic but troublesome "crazy ants" from South America marching - actually, hitching rides - setting up massive colonies and relieving other occupying ant armies, including fire ants, of their duties.

20 May 2013 - 6:44am

Viper's light-absorbing black scales are a wonder of nature's nanotechnology

The Gaboon viper's skin absorbs light. Photo: Shutter Stock

The West African Gaboon viper, one of the largest in Africa and a master of camouflage, has dark spots in the pattern of its skin that are deep, velvety black and reflect very little light.

19 May 2013 - 1:38am

Nature needs a voice in Hong Kong to protect Chinese white dolphins

Nature needs a voice in Hong Kong to protect Chinese white dolphins

It is difficult not to be amazed by the diversity of life forms when you venture into a tropical rainforest or dive into a coral reef. Locally, a trip to a mudflat, such as at Lung Mei at low spring tide, or to the Deep Bay wetlands in winter equally yields wonders.

18 May 2013 - 4:10am 3 comments

Turn back the tide

Paul Rose has participated in approximately 8,000 dives throughout his career.

Paul Rose’s powerful bearing and wind-worn face make him easy to spot in the crowded lobby. Sipping tea at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Rose seems like a man from a different time.

6 May 2013 - 10:21am

Environmentalists raise awareness of Nanling National Forest Park

Botanist Yang Heng during a field trip. Photo: SMP

When nature lovers found some virgin forest in Guangdong's Nanling National Forest Park destroyed, they confronted a developer, winning an admission of culpability. The environmentalists maintained their PR momentum by recruiting the Nanling Discoverers to raise awareness. Yang Heng, a 26-year-old botanist, explains a nature education programme that the developer now helps fund.

5 May 2013 - 5:32am

New study reverses theory of chameleons' origins

Chameleons can not only catch bugs, but waves. Photo: AFP

Chameleons took to the waves to migrate from Africa to Madagascar about 65 million years ago, said a study published last week that seeks to resolve a roiling biological debate.

31 Mar 2013 - 1:06am

Eco tours show visitors the natural hot spots of Hong Kong

Eco-tour guides are ready to take Hongkongers around some special nature spots. Photo: Edward Wong

It is one of eight eco-tours on Hong Kong and Lamma islands from which nature lovers can now choose in order to explore some of the city's rarest wildlife and most spectacular scenery.

24 Feb 2013 - 5:02am

Japanese researchers discover gliding squid that use jet propulsion

Squid in flight. The animals can glide for upwards of 30 metres at a stretch. Photo: AFP

Japanese scientists have confirmed the long-rumoured secret power of a species of oceanic squid. It can fly.

The unlikely aerialists were witnessed zooming across the ocean surface for more than 30 metres at speeds faster than champion sprinter Usain Bolt, the researchers said yesterday.

9 Feb 2013 - 4:31am

Green concerns need to be part of development from the start

Green concerns need to be part of development from the start

The main aim of environmental protection is to protect human beings by ensuring the health and integrity of the natural environment that surrounds us and sustains us.

2 Feb 2013 - 2:48am 3 comments

Nature concerns must be part of development plans

Nature concerns must be part of development plans

No one is perhaps more eager to end the contentions over Hong Kong's land supply than the chief executive, who is reportedly due to announce initiatives to increase housing supply in next week's policy address.

11 Jan 2013 - 2:49am

Parasites thrive on mind control as zombie hosts seal their own doom

A green tree ant locks its jaws into a leaf after being taken over by a parasitic fungus, which then kills it with chemicals. Photo: NYT

In the rainforests of Costa Rica lives a species of spider that sometimes displays a strange and ghoulish habit.

From time to time, the Anelosimus octavius abandon their own webs and build radically different ones - a home not for the spider but for a parasitic wasp that has been living inside it.

16 Dec 2012 - 3:51am

Ex-HK banker Yann Muzika tells of challenge photographing rare finch

Intrepid adventurer Yann Muzika. Photo: Laurent De Meyere

When they met the first time, the finch turned its back on Yann Muzika as if it was laughing at his awkward presence in such a foreign place.

30 Oct 2012 - 4:06am

New planet discovered in celestial neighbourhood

An artist's impression of the newly discovered planet, with our sun the bright dot of light in the top right of the picture. Photo: AFP

Astronomers have found a new planet, the closest yet outside our solar system and just an astronomical stone's throw away at four light years, raising the chances of finding a habitable planet in earth's neighbourhood.

18 Oct 2012 - 3:37am