A new list released by the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry describes the top ten new species found in 2014.
Biologists are constantly discovering and describing new species – just last year, over 18,000 new species were found throughout the world. With over 2 million species and counting, taxonomists have a seemingly endless amount of work to do. According to Radio Australia, the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry just released this list of their top ten favorite new species discovered in 2014. Including plants, insects, and prehistoric beasts, the list celebrates the planet’s breathtaking biodiversity and displays some truly unique species.
Some of the species were picked because of their odd parenting techniques. A rare frog found in Indonesia was remarkably different from the thousands of other frog species in that it gave live birth, releasing tadpoles directly into protected smaller bodies of water. A wasp in China also exhibited a unique behavior in protecting its young. The wasp was observed burying its larvae in dead ant carcasses, creating a pungent chemical scent that disguises the scent of its young from predators.
One of the species making the top ten hasn’t existed for millions 0f years. What scientists have called a “chicken from hell” was identified in fossil form in the Dakotas earlier in 2014, and exhibits traits from both the T. Rex and the triceratops.
The list wouldn’t be complete without bugs, and there were some fascinating entries in 2014. One of the biggest walking sticks was discovered in Borneo, measuring almost 25 cm in length. The list also included a Moroccan spider that was observed cartwheeling at twice its normal speed to get away from predators.
Japan contributed multiple new species to 2014’s top ten list. A pufferfish was found off the coast of Japan that was caught creating mysterious patterns in the sea floor which have perplexed scientists for years. The circles are thought to attract mates. A colorful sea slug was also found in Japanese waters, exhibiting radiant blue, red, and gold hues. Scientists believe that the algae eaten by the slug is responsible for its bright colors.
You can see photos of all the bizarre species on SUNY ESF’s top ten list here.