Was a New Species of ‘Green’ Capybara Discovered in 2021?

A widely shared tweet claimed to show "Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris viridis" — a new species of the giant South American rodent.

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Social media posts claimed to show a green capybara new species.
Image via Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Claim

Video footage shared widely in 2021 showed a newly discovered "green" species of capybara.

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Origin

In 2021, social media users enthusiastically shared posts that appeared to suggest a new “green” species of capybara had been discovered. On Feb. 15, wildlife photographer Bruno Brack posted a short video of a group of green-striped capybara walking over grass, along with the following caption:

The recently discovered new species: the green Capybara, Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris viridis.

Brack’s widely shared video was further promoted in a post by Twitter user @LoochMcGooch. 

Some users will have quickly recognized that Brack’s description was intended to be light-hearted, and showed the giant rodents covered in algae, rather than natural green pigmentation, but others did not, especially in light of Brack’s authentic-seeming, Latin species name. 

Brack himself quickly clarified that no new species had been discovered, and explained the true contents of his video, writing: “A group of Capybaras just left a swamp with duckweed and algae.”

Based on information contained in Brack’s Twitter profile, he appears to have filmed the footage himself, and later specified it had been captured in Paraguay.