In 2016, scientists discovered about 18,000 new plant and animal species. We’re here to semi-objectively show you the top 10.
The list is actually made by the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and an international panel of taxonomists get together to make a list of their top 10 new species discovered in the past year.
Unfortunately but unsurprisingly, climate change gets in the way of these otherwise exciting discoveries. SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s president Quentin Wheeler states, “This would be nothing but good news if it were not for the biodiversity crisis. We’re actually losing species faster than we’re describing and naming them for the first time in history.”:(
Well anyway, on that note…check out these new animals and plants!
- The Sorting Hat spider or Eriovixia gryffindor
Yes. This animal is named for the sorting hat of the Harry Potter series. And I mean, look at it. What else could it be named for? Only one of these specimens have been found, and it is only one tenth of an inch long.
- The Katydid or Eulophophyllum kirk
This one is a bit hard to spot…The katydid mimics its surrounding environment. It has a leaf-like body and hind legs. The females are bright pink and males are green.
- The Root-Eating Island Rat or Gracilimus radix
This little guy is named for its taste for roots. Most other rats in this family are strict carnivores, but this little critter is both a plant and meat eater.
- Millipede with 414 legs, 200 poison glands, and zero eyes or Illacme tobini
This millipede was discovered in a cave in Sequoia National Park. Its anatomy is quite strange. Its an inch-long and has 414 legs, but as it ages it gains more body segments and even more legs. Males even have four legs modified into penises.
- The spiny ant or Pheidole drogon
This spiny ant reminded scientists of Drogon, the black dragon from George R. R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones.” Soldier ants like the one pictured here use extra-large heads and jaws to crush seeds.
- P. Rex or Potamotrygon rex
This new stingray has been dubbed the new king of freshwater stingrays. The stingray is 43 inches long and weighs up to 44 pounds. The stingray is amongst the 350 fish known to live in the Tocantins River in Brazil. 35% of these fish are found nowhere else on Earth.
- World’s first swimming centipede! or Scholopendra cataracta
This little guy has 20 pairs of legs and can grow to about 8 inches long. When an entomologist first observed this centipede under a rock it swam away. Researchers took note of the unprecedented amphibious habits of this centipede. Watch out Michael Phelps.
- A ‘bleeding’ tomato or Solanum ossicruentum
When you cut into this bush tomato, the fruits green flesh turns blood red, much like how our skin oxidizes. It grows on a shrub, so it is actually a berry. As it grows it matures into leathery pods surrounded by spike-covered husk.
- An ‘diabolical’ orchid or Telipogan diabolicus
Look closely at this orchid and you will see the devil. The flower’s male and female organs, the gynostemium, are fused together in a way that looks like a devil with horns, red eyes, and a little goatee.
- “Churro” or Xenoturbella churro
This creature doesn’t look much like a churro…And probably doesn’t taste like one.
Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography found X. churro and three other ocean worm species 3,600 feet below the surface of the Gulf of California.
The primitive ocean worm has deep indents running lengthwise along their 4-inch bodies. Much resembling the beloved fried-dough treat, churros.