Here Are The Top 10 New Species Of Plants And Animals Of 2016
Every year, scientists discover a great number of new species. Since 2008, the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) has been publishing its annual list of "Top 10 New Species" featuring species named the year before.
The current ESF's list honored 10 species that represent global biodiversity. According to ESF President Quentin Wheeler, who also founded the school's International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE), the group wants to highlight the biodiversity crisis.
"We want to bring attention to how little we know about species on our own planet. And we want to bring attention to the fact that this science is going on and every day new species are being discovered," said Wheeler.
ESF's annual top 10 list features newly named species that "stand out in some way." Check them out below.
2016 Top 10 New Species List
Giant tortoise (Chelonoidis donfaustoi)
Location: Galapagos, Ecuador
While giant tortoises look almost identical, you'd almost wonder if the newly named species in Ecuador are actually, well, new. But they are and with only 250 left, they're already endangered, which earned them emergency conservation attention. The species were named after the park ranger Don Fausto, who spent 43 years preserving them.
Giant Sundew (Drosera magnifica)
The world's largest sundew was discovered through the photos posted on Facebook. And because it can only be found on top of one mountain in Brazil, it took some time to find it.
The Drosera magnifica can grow up to 48 inches and like other sundews, it traps insects using the thick mucus-like substance it secretes on its leaves.
While it is quite abundant in its local habitat, the Drosera magnifica only grows in an isolated and limited habitat at 5,000 feet above sea level.
Hominin (Homo naledi)
Location: South Africa
This one made the list for a very obvious reason — they're members of our ancient family tree. While the Homo naledi shares similar features with modern humans such as weight and size, the brain size is closer to the size of the human species that lived about 2 to 4 million years ago. The new species was discovered in South Africa.
Isopod (Iuiuniscus iuiuensis)
This new isopod species made it to the list because it can do something that no one in his family can. The Iuiuniscus iuiuensis can build a home using mud, an ability it might have learned out of survival.
When this tiny isopod, about one-third of an inch in length, sheds its exoskeleton, it becomes more defenseless to predators. Did we mention that this multi-legged isopod is also unpigmented and blind?
Seadragon (Phyllopteryx dewysea)
Seadragons are the cousins of seahorses but unlike its relatives, this newly discovered species boasts of a beautiful ruby red finish.
Its snout is peppered with light markings while pink vertical lines accentuate its body. To date, the scientific community knows only a third of all the seadragon species, which made this discovery a significant one.
It makes you think that if a strikingly red Phyllopteryx dewysea was left undiscovered for ages, there could be much more lurking in plain sight.
Tiny beetle (Phytotelmatrichis osopaddington)
"Tiny" is the operative word. The Phytotelmatrichis osopaddington is so small that in order to reach the one-inch mark, you need 25 of these tiny beetles.
This new beetle species was named after the fictional character, Paddington Bear. Why? Because the scientists have high hopes that just like in the children's books, people will take care of this beetle because it's so small.
Flowering tree (Sirdavidia solannona)
When people think of newly discovered plant species, normally, they think of some faraway, remote places where they were discovered. That's not the case for this flowering tree.
The Sirdavidia solannona was discovered near the main road at Gabon's Monts de Cristal National Park. This flowering tree is less than 20 feet tall. It probably remained undiscovered for so long because researchers went after the bigger ones.
The Ummagumma is one of the sixty new species of damselflies and dragonflies discovered recently in Africa. The discovery is a giant leap for the scientific community because it provided a truckload of new information about the insect species. Interestingly, this delicate damselfly was named after a 1969 Pink Floyd album. "Ummagumma" is also a British slang for "sex."