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American biologist Kelly Swing thwacks a bush with his butterfly net and a dozen or so bugs and insects drop in. One is a harvester, or daddy-long-legs, another a jumping spider that leaps onto a leaf where two beetles are mating.

This is the Tiputini research station, on the edge of the Yasuni National Park in Ecuador, where the foothills of the Andes meet the Amazonian rainforest right on the equator. Swing and I are searching for unidentified creatures and, within a minute or two of looking, may well have found several. The daddy-long-legs, the spider, possibly the beetles on the leaf, even the bee that, disturbed, flies out of the undergrowth to bite Kelly on the neck, may well be unnamed by science, says Swing.

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