Two fish species, one frog species and a number of bat flies – all previously unknown to science – are believed to have been found in Guyana during the filming of a British TV series.

While working on the three-part series “Lost Land of the Jaguar” for BBC One, a team of researchers and wildlife film-makers spent six weeks exploring the rainforests of Guyana. “In a short time, we caught hundreds of species, 10% of which may be new to science. It was unreal, unbelievable,” says zoologist Dr George McGavin, one of four presenters of the documentary.

The two newfound fishes are both small creatures; one is a small banded fish belonging to the genus Hemiodus and one is a tiny parasitic “vampire” catfish that fell out of the gills of a bigger catfish. The gill dwelling fish is a member of the genus Vandellia and hence a close relative of the feared Candirú catfishes, famous for their peculiar capability of entering the human urethra. They are commonly referred to as “vampire fish” since they feed on the blood of other animals.

The scientists partaking in the expedition will now have to sit down and research all their findings more thoroughly in order find out if this is actually entirely new species, and if so, describe them scientifically and assign them scientific names. As Dr McGavin says “Catching is the easy bit, the hard bit is going back to the lab and examining the species, comparing them to collections and books – seeing if they are new to science. One hour in the field can equal hundreds of hours in the lab.

In addition to the possibly newfound species, the documentary includes highlights like footage of the world’s heaviest snake, the Anaconda, the world’s bulkiest eagle, the American Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja), and the enormous Goliath spider (Theraphosa blondi) – also known as the Goliath birdeater. The film-makers have also managed to capture on film the elusive Jaguar from which the series derives its name.

BBC aired all three episodes of “Lost Land of the Jaguar” in August 2008.

You can see a film of the small banded fish here

Guyana, previously known as British Guyana, is a small nation located at the Atlantic side of southern South America. It borders to Suriname, Brazil, and Venezuela. Being slightly smaller than the state of Idaho, Guyana is the third smallest country on the South American mainland. The land can be divided into four main natural regions: a narrow strip of fertile plain along the Atlantic coast where most of the population lives, a hilly white sand belt more inland, a highland region covered in dense rainforest across the middle of the country, and a grassy savannah habitat that can be found to the south as well as in the interior highlands.

Source: news.bbc.co.uk