These new animal species were the hit of last year’s international top ten list.
While we await the list of the top ten new species for 2015, here is a look at last year’s list which includes a see-through snail, an itty-bitty fairy winged wasp and an anenome which lives under a glacier. Every year since 2008, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s International Institute for Species Exploration compiles the list.
It was a big surprise to see a tree which stands 40 feet, which has been hiding all this time in Thai forests, as well as microbes that were discovered in the “clean” rooms used to build spacecraft. Even a new mammal was found chilling in the forests of Colombia and Ecuador.
“One of the most inspiring facts about the top 10 species of 2014 is that not all of the ‘big’ species are already known or documented,” said chairman of the selection committee, Antonio Valdecassas. “One species of mammal and one tree confirm that the species waiting to be discovered are not only on the microscopic scale.”
Living in the Information Age, it would be easy to assume we are close to finding all the species on Earth. That would be a mistake, as the publishers of the list remind us that ten million species are still waiting to be discovered. That’s five times the number already known to science!
Here we go:
1. Bassaricyon neblina, a.k.a. Olinguito
These cute fuzzballs weigh in at about 4.5 pounds and were found living in the cloud forests of the Andes mountains. It is the first carnivorous mammal to be discovered in the Western hemisphere in the past thirty-five years.
2. Dracaena kaweesakii, a.k.a. Kaweesak’s Dragon Tree
This tree grows up to about 40 feet, sports sword shaped leaves and cream-colored flowers. It can be found in the mountains of Loei and Lopburi provinces of Thailand.
3. Edwardsiella andrillae, a.k.a. ANDRILL Anemone
These little critters are the first anemone to be reported as living on ice. This species was found living under a glacier on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica.
4. Liropus minusculus, a.k.a. skeleton shrimp
This ghost-like shrimp is tiny at just an eighth of an inch long. They were discovered in a cave on Santa Catalina Island, just off the coast of southern California.
5. Penicillium vanoranjei, a.k.a. Orange Penicillium
Don’t let the photographs confuse you, this penicillium is bright orange. The fungus was found in soil from Tunisia.
6. Saltuarius eximius, a.k.a. Leaf-tailed Gecko
These mottled geckos have a wide tail that shaped like a leaf to help its camouflage. They were discovered in the mountains of northeastern Australia.
7. Spiculosiphon oceana
This one-celled organism can grow up to two inches long in its native Mediterranean Sea. The shell it constructs uses the fragments of dead sponges found on the sea floor.
8. Tersicoccus phoenicis
This microbial species was found in two separate rooms used to build spacecraft, thousands of miles apart. The rooms are supposed to be clean, which show this to be a species of extra resistance to sterilization.
9. Tinkerbella nana, a.k.a. Tinkerbell Fairyfly
The super tiny wasp named after Peter Pan’s famous fairy is just 0.00984 inches long. That makes it one of the smallest insects yet discovered. The species was found in Costa Rica.
10. Zospeum tholussum, a.k.a. Domed Snail
This translucent species of snail was found in a Croatian cave complex, nearly half a mile underground.