An unusual nature documentary features a battle-scarred soldier who finds salvation in the Amazon rainforest, caring for an injured ocelot cub and developing a complex relationship with the founder of a wildlife rescue centre. The new-to-science Chiriquí fire salamander was found by a Panamanian team that has been investigating one of the least-explored regions of Central America. Maned sloths were thought to be one species but a genetic and physical analysis suggests there are actually two.

The 10 remaining vaquitas have enough genetic diversity to rebuild their species, but only if there is a dramatic reduction of illegal fishing operations in the Gulf of California. A new analysis helps to unravel the mystery of the Australian dingo’s origins by showing that it is probably descended from a wild dog rather than a domestic breed. The population of polecats in Britain has recovered over the past century and may be aided by interbreeding with feral ferrets. By performing a DNA comparison of two similar jellyfish species, researchers have found the genes that could stop and reverse ageing in immortal jellyfish.

COP15: Canada to replace China as venue for UN biodiversity summit

The COP15 meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity will be relocated to Montreal due to fears the Chinese government would postpone the event again. The release of four bison in a block of ancient woodland is expected to improve the area’s biodiversity, in what could mark the first of a new wave of rewilding projects. The dingo is a kind of wild dog found exclusively in Australia. It is descended from the New Guinea singing dog.A database of photos taken from 1886 to 2019 reveals that horn size has gradually decreased in five species of rhinoceros, probably due to poaching.

We have long known that connecting with nature in green spaces is great for our mental health. Now fresh research is showing that time near water – by the coast, rivers and even fountains in the park – is even more restorative. Gardens are an important habitat for the Western European hedgehog in the UK. Here’s what the science says about how to make your garden more hedgehog-friendly. From 1 October it will be offence to deliberately capture, kill, disturb or injure the keystone species, or damage where the animals breed and rest. Large yellowfin tuna fish prefer to scrape against sharks over members of their own species, possibly to pry off parasites.

High-speed cameras have revealed the extraordinary hunting technique of the Australian ant-slayer spider, which is highly successful and thought to be unique. Wildlife photographers spotted an unusually pale, red-eyed turtle hatchling in Telangana state, which was identified as a flapshell turtle with albinism. African wild dogs like to breed at the coolest time of year, and climate change has shifted the average timing of birth by 3 weeks in just 30 years. Cheaters don’t win – at least in algae. Cells modified to reproduce when they shouldn’t are more vulnerable to changes in the environment. This trade-off could help explain the emergence of multicellular organisms, and what prevents our cells from rebelling against ourselves.

Ghost DNA from hybrid coyotes could save endangered red wolves

A hidden reservoir of red wolf DNA has been found in coyotes in southwestern Louisiana – and it could be used to help the endangered wolves grow their wild population. A fossil from 385 million years ago named Qikiqtania wakei shows that a descendant of early land animals lost its adaptations for land and became a more efficient swimmer. Researchers have figured out how the Amami spiny rat lost its Y chromosome, and some believe the same fate may be in store for humans. From bees hunting for a mate to a giant sea star procreating, these incredible images are some of the winners in the prestigious wildlife photography competition. A tiny snake-like animal that lived about 308 million years ago had evolved to lose its forelimbs. Greenland’s variegated snailfish produces antifreeze proteins that stop large ice crystal formation, keeping the animal’s blood like a slushie, instead of frozen solid.

A large species of gharial, an animal closely related to crocodiles, roamed China 3000 years ago, but was probably driven extinct by humans. In 2032, tech savvy Flynne Fisher helps her brother with a virtual reality game and ends up in a disturbing London 60 years later. William Gibson’s 2014 sci-fi thriller The Peripheral is so stuffed with ideas it will need seasons to unpack. Going birding made a huge difference to my family’s mental health. Environmental organisations need to work with charities such as the one I set up, Black2Nature, as well as with young minority ethnic people, to engage them with nature, says Mya-Rose Craig. As Elon Musk becomes wealthier and more powerful, we need to know more about the man whose projects are transforming the world. But as a new documentary shows, it is hard grappling with the reality of someone with such disparate labels as hero, villain, or superhuman genius.

A computer model suggests that wildlife may face survival problems if some of the humans in the environment help wild animals while others hunt them. When cats lick and chew catnip or silver vine plants, higher levels of insect-repelling iridoid chemicals are released. After mating, female octopuses increase production of a steroid hormone, which may drive them to starve themselves while guarding their eggs. Chameleons introduced to Hawaii in 1972 have started flaunting brighter colours, probably because they have fewer predators to hide from. These fascinating and colourful mollusc shells from a collection at the Natural History Museum in London are drawn from a new book, Interesting Shells by Andreia Salvador. From mosquitoes and rats to foxes and birds, the urban environment is transforming animals that live among us – but which new species should we expect next?.