The damselfish Chrysiptera cymatilis is one of 1,060 new species found on or near the island of New Guinea (see map) between 1998 and 2008, according to a new report. Earth's largest tropical island is divided between Indonesia in the west and Papua New Guinea in the east.
The "striking" blue fish, found in 1999, lives in the pristine Coral Triangle, a region that supports the most diverse marine ecosystems on Earth, according to the report Final Frontier: Newly Discovered Species of New Guinea (1998—2008), by the conservation organization WWF.
"If you look at New Guinea in terms of biological diversity, it is much more like a continent than an island," Neil Stronach, program representative for WWF Western Melanesia, said in a statement.
"Scientists found an average of two new species each week from 1998 [to] 2008—nearly unheard of in this day and age." (See pictures of more new species found in Papua New Guinea, including a "Yoda bat.")
However, poorly planned and unsustainable development on New Guinea—for example, logging and agriculture—is jeopardizing the future of many of these species, the report emphasized.
Pictures: Thousands of New Species Found in New Guinea
A snub-fin dolphin and a blue-eyed possum are among more than a thousand new species found over the past decade on the Pacific island.