This year has some incredible specimens in the Top 10 New Species list, as provided by the International Institute of Species Exploration and a team of taxonomists. Ranging from a tiny bacteria to a 6-foot monitor lizard, these are just some of the new species found. And there are many more yet to be discovered.
10. Darwin’s Dark Spider
This enormous spider was found in Madagascar, home to many species found nowhere else in the world. These spiders build enormous webs, as you can see, spanning everything from trees to rivers. One monster of a web was measured at 82 feet across a river.
The other unusual thing about the web the Darwin’s dark spider weaves is that it has twice the strength of any other spider silk and up to ten times the strength of Kevlar.
9. Pancake Batfish
The pancake batfish is a real curiosity for two reasons. It lives either completely or partially in the area affected by the Gulf Oil Spill of 2010, which does put some question marks over survival of the species. The batfish walks on thick fins, very awkwardly – hence its name, as its gait is reminiscent of a walking bat’s.
8. Raspy Cricket
This little fellow is found on Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean. It made the Top 10 list because it is the only pollinator of a rare endangered orchid, Angraecum cadetii.
7. Mycena luxaeterna (eternal light)
Amazing little mushrooms that glow in the dark also made the list; they’re found in a forest near São Paulo, Brazil. The caps are less than 2 cm across and the stems glow greenish yellow at all times owing to a gel on the mushrooms’ stems. This fungi was named after a portion of Mozart’s Requiem.
Image: Drawing © Yann LE BRIS
6. Walter’s Duiker
This tiny new antelope, called a duiker, was found in a bushmeat market in West Africa. “The discovery of a new species from a well-studied group of animals in the context of bushmeat exploitation is a sobering reminder of the
mammalian species that remain to be described, even within those that are being exploited on a daily basis for food or ritual activities,” said Marc Colyn of the University of Rennes, France.
5. Psathyrella Aquatica
In the fresh, clean river water of the Rogue River, Oregon, a gilled mushroom species was found that actually fruits under water, making it into the top 10 list for that reason.
4. Jumping Cockroach
In South Africa’s Silvermine Nature Reserve, just what we need, a new species of cockroach! It is unique in that its legs have been modified for jumping, and it jumps as far and very like a grasshopper. These are the first known living jumping cockroaches, the only other such roaches being fossils from the late Jurassic era.
Image: PLoS ONE
3.Tyrannobdella rex (Tyrant Leech King)
This scary looking leech was discovered in Peru, attached to the mucus membrane of someone’s nose! It is less than 2 inches long but has huge teeth and one strong jaw.
Image: Image courtesy of J. Brown
2. Varanus bitatawa
Six feet six inches long but weighing only 22 pounds, this fruit-eating monitor lizard was discovered in the Philippines. It has green yellow dots and a darker body with stripes of gold flecks.
Image: RMS Titanic Inc
1. Halomonas titanicae
This entry is a new bacteria found on the rusting hull of the Titanic. It creates mounds of corrosion, or rusticles, and scientists hope it can be used to deal with other ships at the bottom of the ocean.
These ten species are just a few of the many new and rediscovered species of 2011. It is a reminder that our world is still largely unknown when it comes to species, and there are many more to find.