Island of 10,000 Creatures.

National Geographic has some great images of tiny crabs, shrimp and other colorful creatures among the 10,000 species just catalogued on Espiritu Santo, Republic of Vanuatu:

During the Santo 2006 biodiversity survey in Vanuatu, 153 scientists from 20 countries fanned out across the remote South Pacific island of Espiritu Santo, examining mountains, forests, caves, reefs, and water for all living organisms.

In five months, they collected 10,000 species. Some 2,000 of these may be new to science.

Scientists on the Santo 2006 expedition in Vanuatu collected as many different species as they could to establish an authoritative record of what lives on and around the island of Espiritu Santo.

“We’re aware that up to half of [these] species will go extinct by the end of this century,” says Philippe Bouchet, one of the expedition’s leaders.

Scientists sampled some 4,000 different mollusk species in Espiritu Santo. Mollusk expert Philippe Bouchet speculates that as many as 1,000 of these could be new species.