If you were asked to show on a world map the regions with the most biodiversity, your finger would probably end up pointing at the Amazon, the Congo Basin or the island of Borneo.
But on New Guinea, an island that represents no more than 1% of the world’s landmass, an array of extraordinary animals and plants have also flourished, such as tree kangaroos and birds of paradise.
Close to 10% of the world’s vertebrates are concentrated here, while 7% of the world’s higher (vascular) plants grow on the island’s productive soils.
The New Guinea Book of Records
On a walk through the forests of New Guinea, you may encounter the world’s largest pigeon (the Southern crowned pigeon, Goura scheepmakeri
), smallest parrot (the red-breasted pygmy parrot, Micropsitta finschii
) and the longest lizard (Salvadore's monitor lizard, Varanus salvadorii
Sooner or later, the world’s largest butterfly (Queen Alexandra birdwing, Ornithoptera alexandrae
) would flutter by. To recover, you would sit under the shadow of Araucaria
(a conifer), at up to 70 m in height the tallest tropical trees on the planet.