Our Top 10 New Species Discovered in 2017
January 2018- Every year brings a new group of species into the encyclopaedia of life. In the past 12 months, there have been at least 18 000 new species described.
This may sound like a lot, but with millions more thought to be living on the planet, this is a mere scratch on the surface.
Here is our TOP 10 list of favourite NEW SPECIES discovered in 2017:
1. SPIDER - Gryffindor's Hat (Eriovixia gryffindori)
Location found: India
They may be little, but they're also just a bit magical. At only 2mm in length, these tiny spiders are the smallest creatures to make the list in 2017, and do so because of their striking resemblance to the infamous hat once owned by the famed Harry Potter wizard, Godric Gryffindor.
2. INSECT - Katydid (Eulophophyllum kirki)
Location found: East Malaysia, Sabah, Danum Valley
Only one specimen of this beautifully-coloured insect has ever been found, which uses its incredible mimicry to blend in with the foliage in which it lives. While the males are a more standard green, the females are dazzling in all their pink finery.
3. RODENT - Slender Root Rat (Gracilimus radix)
Location found: Indonesia
While most rodents are consistently carnivorous, preferring to dine on other animals, this Indonesian cutie wants it all, and is one of the few truly omnivorous rats. Found only on the island of Sulawesi, this beastie is so unusual that it has been placed in its own genus.
4. INSECT - Millipede (Illacme tobini)
Location found: USA
Measuring in at just 20mm long, with no eyes, four penises, and 414 legs, these little millipedes are living proof that it's not size that counts. Hailing from a long line of millipedes that go back more than 200 million years, these American insects come from good stock.
5. INSECT - Ant (Pheidole drogon)
Location found: Papua New Guinea
The spiky armour of this New Guinean insect reminded the researchers who discovered it so much of Daenerys Targaryen's rouge dragon that they decided to name the ant after it. While this species of spiny soldier ant may not be able to contend with its namesake in size, it sure makes up for it in appearance.
6. FISH - Freshwater Stingray (Potamotrygon rex)
Location found: Brazil
Despite the jazzy psychedelic print of this freshwater ray, it has managed to go undetected to science - like many of the other fish living in the Tocantins River of Brazil. The intense yellow patterning of this creature, coupled with a length of up to 1.1 metres and a weight of 20kg, has given this funky ray the title "King of Rays".
7. INSECT - Amphibious Centipede (Scolopendra cataracta)
Location found: Southeast Asia
This new centipede is black, has 20 pairs of legs and can grow to 20cm long. It is the first species of centipede ever observed to be able to swim in water, much like an eel. Its name, "cataracta", is Latin for waterfall. Their small fangs can penetrate human skin for a non-lethal but painful bite.
8. FRUIT - Bush Tomato (Solanum ossicruentum)
Location found: Australia
Combining the Latin for bony (ossi) and bloody (cruentum), this strange relative of the tomato has a gruesome secret. When cut in half, the fruit not only appears to "bleed", but it then dries in a bony state. Discovered in Australia, this species has been known to botanists for at least 50 years, but has only just been officially described.
9. FLOWER - Orchid (Telipogon diabolicus)
Location found: Colombia
The new species, Telipogon diabolicus, has a reproductive structure derived from the fusion of male and female flower parts into one that bears a resemblance to depictions of the devil's head. Already critically endangered, the species is an epiphyte, a plant that grows harmlessly on another plant in moist, dwarf mountain forest.
10. ANIMAL - Marine Worm (Xenoturbella churro)
Location found: Mexico
With no eyes, no brain, no gut, and no anus, these bizarre deep-sea worms have puzzled biologists for more than 60 years. Discovered deep in the Gulf of California, 1,722 metres below the surface, Xenoturbella churro is a 10cm-long and representative of a group of primitive worm-like animals that are the earliest branch in the family tree of bilaterally symmetrical animals, including insects and humans.
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