Posts Tagged New species

What’s New Pussycat?

Following on from last year’s “Bless You!” post (29/5/12) here is the 2013 list of the top ten new species discovered in the last year, as compiled by the International Institute For Species Exploration (

We have a fossilised species of hangingfly from China  (does it count as a new species if it no longer exists?), Semachrysa jade (a green lacewing from Malaysia), Lucihormetica luckae (a luminescent cockroach from Ecuador), Eugenia petrikensis (a two metre high myrtle shrub from Madagascar), Paedophryne amanuensis (a frog from New Guinea which, at 7.7 mm long, is officially the world’s smallest vertebrate), Ochroconis lascauxensis (a black fungus found associated with Paleolithic rock art on a cave wall in France), a species of snail-eating snake from Panama, the lesula monkey from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the carnivorous lyre sponge found in deep water (average 3399 metres) off the California coast, and the Lilliputian violet from Peru.

In a world so covered by the human footprint it continues to amaze me how little we really know and how much is still to be discovered.

Dr. F. Bunny

Green Lacewing Luminescent Cockroach

Semachrysa jade                                                                    Lucihormetica luckae

Smallest VertebrateLesula Monkey

Paedophryne amanuensis                                             Lesula monkey with remarkably human-looking face.

Snail-eating SnakeLyre Sponge

Snail-eating snake                                                           Lyre sponge


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Bless You!

We all know about the large number of species going extinct each day (20 to 200), but did you know that 18,000 new species of plants and animals are discovered each year? In true David Letterman style the International Institute For Species Exploration ( has developed a top ten list of the most charismatic, unusual and bizarre organisms discovered each year. The 2012 members are the Bonaire banded box jelly, the devil’s worm (a nematode found living 1.3 km under the earth in a South African gold mine), the night-blooming orchid (the first plant to do so), the dive-bombing wasp, the spongebob squarepants mushroom, the Nepalese autumn poppy, the wandering leg sausage (a large Tanzanian millipede), the walking cactus (related to velvet worms), Sazima’s tarantula (an iridescent blue Brazilian tarantula), and, my favourite, the sneezing monkey of Myanmar. This monkey, with black fur and a white beard, has such a dramatically upturned nose that water leaks into it when it rains, causing it to sneeze. To avoid rainwater dripping into its nose it tends to sit with its head between its legs. It doesn’t seem like a terrific idea, as hunters find them by following the sneezes, but presumably the upturned nostrils convey some evolutionary advantage? Maybe they stop the monkeys getting cream in their nose when they have Devonshire tea?

Dr. F. Bunny

Sneezing monkey when it’s not raining.

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