Today has been declared as the inaugural World Wildlife Day by the United Nations General Assembly to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora. March 3rd was chose as it is the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).
To showcase the diversity of life the EDGE of Existence team has decided to highlight one incredible species from each of our EDGE lists (mammals, amphibians and corals). These three species have evolved to have extremely unique characteristics but are so often overlooked and unappreciated.
This newt inhabits a very small patch of forest in eastern China. They have sharp elongated ribs whose tips project through the skin when they are grasped to inject painful skin secretions into any predators. The Chinhai spiny newt is threatened primarily by habitat destruction and degradation especially through forest clearing and road construction.
The solenodon diverged from other mammal groups 76 million years ago and is endemic to the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea. It has evolved to have special teeth which enable it to inject venom into its prey and is one of very few mammals that can produce toxic saliva. It is now threatened by introduced predators such as cats, dogs and mongooses.
This beautiful and colourful coral is found across the Indo-pacific. It possess a large number of feeding tentacles used to grab prey items up to 6cm long. It also features some ‘sweeping’ tentacles that are considerably longer and contain stinging cells that are used to attack rival coral colonies.