On May 23rd, the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) published its 5th annual list of new species discovered during the previous year. Based out of Arizona State University, IISE’s scientists collaborate with a committee of taxonomists across the globe to describe and classify new plant and animal species.
Snub-nosed monkeys are a group of Old World monkeys and make up the entirety of the genus Rhinopithecus. The genus occurs rarely and needs much more research. About 20,000 of the golden variety remain on Earth. Some 4,000 inhabit the mountainous region where Chinese officials set up the Zhouzhi National Nature Reserve to protect the species. Living both in and out of reserve boundaries, Rhinopithecus roxellana, whose Latin name was allegedly inspired by the snub-nosed concubine of a 1500s sultan, has made great adaptations to survive, subsisting on low-protein lichens and bark when trees are bare. Large social networks help fend off predators, like clouded leopards. Amanda Deviana think: little cute monkey 😉
Bonaire Banded Box Jelly is found near the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire. This “strikingly beautiful yet venomous jellyfish” resembles a box kite, with its long, colorful tails, according to ASU. After a thorough scientific review in which the morphology of this jellyfish was carefully compared with the morphology of several close relatives, the Bonaire banded box jelly was officially given the species name Tamoya ohboya in a public naming contest organized by the Coalition of the Public Understanding of Science. Lisa Peck, a high school marine biology teacher, submitted the winning entry “ohboya,” as she explained in part, “I bet ‘Oh Boy’ is the first thing said when a biologist or layman encounters the Bonaire Banded Box Jellyfish.” Amanda Deviana think: Jelly Belly yeay
A giant millipede about the length of a sausage bears the common name “wandering leg sausage.” The species (Crurifarcimen vagans) holds a new record as the largest millipede (about 6.3 inches) found in one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, Tanzania’s Eastern Arc Mountains. The new species is about 0.6 inch in diameter with 56 more or less podous rings, or body segments, bearing ambulatory limbs. Each of these segments has two pairs of legs. Amanda Deviana think: Yucks, I feel so itchy right now!!!
Not only is this iridescent blue tarantula, Sazima’s tarantula, breathtakingly beautiful, it is the first new animal species from Brazil to have made it to the Top 10. Brazil is one of the planet’s most biologically diverse nations and is consistently a major source of species discoveries including much of Brazil’s Amazon basin, its Atlantic forest, the savanna ecoregion Cerrado, and the hotspots of Brazil’s tropical Andes. Survival of tarantula species can be at risk due to loss of habitat and over-collecting for the pet trade. Although Pterinopelma sazimai is not the first blue tarantula, it is one of the most striking and may be especially vulnerable because of its limited distribution in an “ecological island” – a habitat high upon tabletop mountains which have a greater rainfall and different soils than the immediately surrounding area. Amanda Deviana think: It`s a dangerous animal!!! I hate spider, but won`t mind if a handsome Spiderman Superhero kiss me, lol.
A Night-Blooming orchid, the first of its kind known to science, has been described by a team of botanists. Experts say the “remarkable” species is the only orchid known to consistently flower at night, but why it has adopted this behaviour remains a mystery. The plant was discovered by a Dutch researcher during an expedition to New Britain, an island near Papua New Guinea. Amanda Deviana think: awesome!
Diania is an extinct genus of animal found in the Lower Cambrian Maotianshan shale of China, represented by a single species D. cactiformis. Known during its investigation by the nickname “walking cactus“, this organism belongs to a group known as the armoured lobopodians and has a simple worm-like body with robust, spiny, and apparently jointed legs. Its significance is that jointed legs are the defining character of the arthropods and Diania may thus be very close to the origins of the most diverse group of animals on the planet. Amanda Deviana think: Really? Walking cactus…
A tiny parasitic wasp from the region surrounding Madrid, Spain earned Top 10 recognition for her unusual means of laying an egg. Dive-bombing Wasps hunt for prey one centimeter above ground, scouting for unwary dessert ants. Dive-bombing Wasps strike from behind, depositing a single egg in an unsuspecting host in less than 1/20 of a second, sealing the ant’s fate as a moving feast for hungry wasp larvae. Amanda Deviana think: euuuhhhh
Many newly discovered species of Nepalese Autumn Poppies are small in size or secretive in habits, but not all. This beautiful and vibrantly colored poppy has remained unknown to science until now. This is no doubt due in part to the extreme environment where the flower lives at an elevation of 10,827 to 13,780 feet in central Nepal. It is also evidence of the paucity of botanists studying the Asian flora as specimens of Meconopsis autumnalis had been collected twice before, although not recognized as new — first in 1962 by the storied Himalayan plant hunter Adam Stainton and again in 1994 by staff of the University of Tokyo’s Department of Plant Resources. The recent rediscovery of the poppy in the field was made by intrepid botanists collecting plants miles from human habitation in heavy monsoon rains. Amanda Deviana think: beautifulllll…
Named after the cartoon character Spongebob Squarepants, this new species looks more like a sponge than a stereotypical mushroom and its fruiting body can actually be squeezed like a sponge and bounce back to its normal size and shape. This unusual mushroom is only the second species of the bolete fungus genus Spongiforma and according to the authors, “its unusual shape is unlike anything else known.” Beyond having a shape that brings Spongebob Squarepants to mind, the authors note other similarities between the fungus and the cartoon personality. The mushrooms smells fruity and Spongebob lives in a pineapple; magnified, the texture of the fungus resembles the tube sponges covering the seafloor where Spongebob lives; and even the microscopic spores of the fungus appear spongelike. Although the species name was initially rejected by journal editors as “frivolous,” the authors persisted and as a result, brought attention to a bizarre new species and to the biodiversity of the world’s forests. Amanda Deviana think: squeeezzzyyyy…
Scientists digging 2.2 miles under South Africa didn’t crack through the roof of Hell, but they did find the “devil worm,” the deepest-living animal known. Halicephalobus mephisto, a newly discovered species named for Faust’s Mephistopheles, is the first nematode found beyond the 100-meter mark. Depths beyond that were thought to harbor only microbes. The nematodes live in a brownish fluid of bacterial biofilm, and have adapted comfortably to severe conditions marked by massive atmospheric pressure, and an ambient temperature that averages 98.6 Fahrenheit. Amanda Deviana think: yucks!!!!