A high-pitched noise that villagers in the Philippines believed was dwarves laughing in the forest actually comes from a cicada, one of dozens of new species discovered by American and Filipino researchers in the nation's islands and waters. The team found scores of new marine invertebrates, at least 40 new spiders, and 11 new species of fish, including several small "cat sharks," the Guardian reports.
"This is the place where the action is," says a curator at the California Academy of Sciences, which led the expedition. "The Philippines has more diversity on land and sea than any other place on earth." Much of that biodiversity is under severe threat from pollution, overfishing, and climate change, researchers warn, although big improvements have been made in protection of shallow-water areas. Click for a gallery of the newly discovered species. (Read more biodiversity stories.)