Arizona State University's International Institute for Species Exploration focuses on newly discovered species as well as undiscovered ones. But bringing attention to the plight of these species can often be difficult. So the institute has published a top 10 list of new species discoveries every year since 2008 in order to bring to attention the wonder and beauty of nature along with the challenges that it faces in the modern world. This year's list was just recently put out and contains some real gems.
Here are the winners!
1. Lesula monkey - Cercopithecus lomamiensis
The Cercopithecus lomamiensis was discovered in the African Congo.
The discovery of a new African monkey is important because it is the second one discovered since 1984. It has human looking eyes which gives it a strange kinship with this artistic "improvement" of the Ecce Homo fresco of Jesus back in 2012.
2. Glowing Jawa Cockroach - Lucihormetica luckae
This glowing cockroach is based on a specimen that was collected over 70 years but published in a paper in 2012. In an ingenious bit of evolution the roach mimics the bioluminescent pattern of a poisonous beetle, the click beetle, in order to ward of predators. It also made it look like a Jawa from Star Wars.
Sadly no other members of this species have been found and scientists fear it may be extinct due to 2010 eruption of the Peruvian Tungurahua Volcano, which is near the beetles native habitat.
3. Lyre Sponge - Chondrocladia lyra
This beautiful sponge is actually a deadly predator for tiny crustaceans. The lyre sponge's "strings" are covered in tiny barbed hooks that is uses to capture its prey. Once the prey is ensnared with no hope for escape the sponge surrounds it in a thin membrane and proceeds to digest it alive.
4. Penny Flower - Viola lilliputana
This new pint-sized plant species is extraordinary because not only one of the tiniest violets in existence, it is also one of the tiniest flowers in existence.
First discovered in the Andes mountains of Peru in the 1960s, it took a paper published in 2012 to make it an official new species.
5. Protest Snake - Sibon noalamina
The unusual name behind this snake is double fold. It scientific name is Spanish for "No To The Mine." The snake's name is a sign of protest against heavy mining activity that is ravaging its habitat in the Serrania de Tabasara mountain range in Panama.
Little of the region is protected, with over one fifth of the region being deforested over the 1990s.
6. The Fungus Who Eats Paintings - Ochroconis anomala
This little fungus is harmless to humans but may still threaten a significant achievement of the human race. The black fungus threatens to stain the famous cave paintings at Lascaux, France, the second such fungus that has threatened them. The newest one begin in 2001 and a team of scientists is working to contain the problem to one of America
The prey of the deadly Fungus Among Us. via Wikipedia.
7. World's Tiniest Frog - Paedophryne amauensis
This tiny frog from New Guinea's rain forest leaf litter is the smallest known vertebrate in the world. Dwarfed by a dime, this frog does not have a tadpole stage, instead giving birth to even smaller "hoppers," miniature versions of adults.
8. Diva Shrubs - Eugenia petrikensis
This plant is a diva when it come to shrubs in its habitat. It grows in the sandy soil parts of Madagascar to heights of six feet and it accessorize with bunch of pink flowers, looking particularly fierce in the process.
You go plant.
9. The World's Oldest Imposter - Juracimbrophlebia ginkgofolia
This may look like either a fossilized bug that has four wings or a set of ancient ginko-type leave (Yimaia capituliformis). But it's actually both.
Researchers found this rare fossilized set of of specimens and noticed now the wings of the Juracimbrophlebia ginkgofolia matched the leaves around it. This makes it the first example of mimicry in its species group, the hanging flies, and a tantalizing look into how the environment of the far past must have functioned.
10. Social Media Superstar - Semachrysa jade
Semachrysa jade is more noticeable for how it was discovered then what makes it unique. Hong Ping Guek, a Malaysian photographer, was out hiking when he snapped a photo of the insect and put it on Flickr.
Shaun Winterton, the senior entomologist at the California Department of Food and Agriculture saw the picture and noticed that he had not seen this particular insect before in his life. After researching and consulting with colleagues he was convinced that this was a new species. He e-mailed Guek and asked if he had captured it, which Guek did not. A year later however Guek captured a specimen and sent it to Winterton who confirmed that it was a new species.
Proof that anyone can be a scientists if they try!