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Scientists Release Top 10 List of Species Discovered Last Year

18,00o new species were discovered in 2014, adding to the list of about 2,000,000 known species. The list was assembled by an international committee of taxonimists at the State University of New York. Each species chosen has some interesting feature.

This list is released every year in mid May to commemorate Carl Linnaeus, the founder of  modern taxonomy, whose birthday is May 23. Linnaeus lived from 1707 to 1778. He introduced binomial nomenclature to science which is the system of naming organisms based ion their genus and species. The human scientific name, Homo sapiens, is an example of this naming system.

Dr. Quentin Wheeler, who is the founding director of the International Institute of Species Exploration, said: “The Top 10 is a reminder of the wonders awaiting us,”.

These top 10 species show us how diverse life on Earth is and reminds us there are still many very interesting species yet to be discovered.

Cartwheeling Spider

Pictured above is the cartwheeling spider. This spider was found in a Moroccan desert and has been seen to cartwheel to escape predators. This speedy method of escape is used only as a last resort. It will use a threatening stance or runaway before resorting to cartwheeling.

Feathered Dinosaur

dinosaur

Second on the list is the featured dinosaur, Anzu wyliei. It is very interesting because it possesses features of both dinosaurs and birds. According to scientists, it sat on eggs, had hollow bones, a beak and feathers.

Coral Plant

coral plant

A new species of plant was also discovered. It was immediately placed on the endangered list because it was found in only 50 places. It is a plant with branching, above ground tubers resembeling coral. This plant was found in the Philippines.

 

X-Phyla

x-phyla

Thees organisms are called x-phyla because it is currently unknown where this creature belongs. That is still being determined by biologists. Currently they are thought to belong to the Cnidaria phylum which contains coral, jellyfish and sea anemones. They are, however, missing some key features from this group and may even be placed into a whole new phylum!

Bone-house Wasp

b-h wasp

The bone-house wasp has developed a gruesome tactic for raising offspring. This insect constructs chambered nests out of carcasses of other insects. Females will kill ants and spiders to use their bodies as both food and shelter for their young. Chemicals released from the dead ants hides the scent of larvae from predators.

Indonesian Frog

frog

This frog is one of the only know species that gives birth to live offspring. Of the other 6,500 species of frogs known, only 12 species give live birth. Furthermore it is the only species of frog to give live birth to tadpoles. The others give birth to already developed frogs.

Walking Stick

walking stick

A new species of walking stick was discovered in a national park in Vietnam. It is nine inches long and shows that many other walking stick species could still be out there, undiscovered by scientists.

Sea Slug

slug

This vibrantly coloured sea slug was found in Japan. Biologists think it may be the missing link between the group of sea slugs that feed on hydroids and the group that use coral as a food source.

Bromeliad

plant

The second plant on the list was already known to people in the town in Mexico where it was found but is now listed as an official species.

Pufferfish

puffer

Last, but not least, is a new species of pufferfish. This fish has been seen making patterns in the ocean floor, the origins of which had troubled scientists for many years. It is now known that this species of pufferfish causes them. Males use them to attract females and are also used as a place to lay eggs.

There you have it, the top 10 new species of 2014. From using dead insects as food to cartwheeling across the desert, these new organisms are all interesting in their own way.

About Harry H

Harry H

Harry is currently studying biology and chemistry in University and hopes to go to grad school for evolutionary biology. He enjoys writing about sciences and sports and is a big fan of hockey and soccer. Some of his other interests are reading and rock climbing.
Contact Harry: harry.h@youthindependent.com