The State University of New York College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry's International Institute for Species Exploration has released its annual list of newly discovered species. This list represents the world's biodiversity.
This year's list includes a variety of plants, animals, and microorganisms. The IISE's committee of taxonomists picked 10 from over 18,000 species that scientists discovered from different parts of the world during the previous year.
Two animals that made the list include Pongo tapanuliensis and Wakaleo schouteni. The Pongo tapanuliensis is a Tapanuli orangutan. This great ape is also the most endangered animal in its species. Scientists believe that there are only 800 Tapanuli orangutans left on this planet.
Meanwhile, Wakaleo schouteni was a marsupial lion that called northwestern Queensland, Australia home 23 million years ago. Researchers estimate that it weighed about 50 pounds and was an omnivore.
The Pseudoliparis swirei is a snailfish that could be found in the western Pacific Ocean. This tadpole-like fish was in the Mariana Trench, known as the deepest place on the planet. Researchers say that the fish was found 5 miles below the surface of the ocean. While it measured 4 inches in length, the snailfish is at the top of its habitat's food chain.
Scientists also found Epimeria quasimodo in Antarctica's Southern Ocean. The brightly colored crustacean received its scientific name from Quasimodo, the protagonist in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. This shrimp species is 2 inches in length.
Eukaryote And Bacteria
Two aqua-related organisms also made the list. The Ancoracysta twista was discovered in a San Diego aquarium. This eukaryote does not fit the general prototype of a protist and can feed off other members of its species group. Due to scientists finding the protist in captivity, they were unable to check if the eukaryote could be found in the wild.
Thiolava veneris is the only new bacterial organism that was added to the list. It was the first organism to move into a marine ecosystem after a devastating 2011 volcano eruption near the Canary Islands. The long hair-like bacteria received its nickname "Venus' hair" from scientists after it colonized an ecosystem 430 feet below the ocean's surface.
Also making the list is Brazil's Dinizia jueirana-facao, which are 130-feet-tall trees. There are only 25 of these trees left on the planet. The heterotrophic flower, Sciaphila sugimotoi, is at the edge of extinction because there are only 50 plants found in Ishigaki Island in Japan.
Rounding out the list are two distinct beetles. The Nymphister kronaueri, which is 1.5 millimeters long, lives alongside army ants in Costa Rica. When the army ants travel, the beetles attach themselves. Their bodies have the same shape and color as army ants'.
On the other hand, the Xuedytes bellus, a cave beetle, located in China's Guangxi province, made the list because of its adaptability. Scientists noticed that this beetle has spider legs and has no eyes or pigmentation. It also has an elongated head.
President Wheeler Speaks
Tech Times corresponded with IISE Founding Director and President Quentin D. Wheeler, who spent the past year working with a graduate student in searching for species that would catch readers' attention. He also noted that each of the species stood out for different reasons. Wheeler hopes that the Top 10 list could encourage others to learn more about this planet.
"Our goal is to remind people of the wondrous diversity of life on Earth and the fact that species are going extinct at a rate hundreds to a thousand times faster than in pre-human time. We can learn so much if we complete an inventory of species before millions are gone," said Wheeler to Tech Times.
The IISE publishes the list every May 23 to pay homage to Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus. Linnaeus is known as the "father of modern taxonomy."