Top 10 New Species!

SCIENCE

Which of the 18,000 new species identified last year were selected as this year’s top ten? (International Institute for Species Exploration)

Read this fantastic article to see who made the cut last year!

Insect, plant, X-Phyla . . . what’s your favorite new species? Vote in our poll!

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources, including our poll and today’s MapMaker Interactive map, in our Teachers’ Toolkit.

Where are the “Top 10” new species found? Use our map to find out, and experiment with layers to investigate land-use patterns in these regions.

Where are the “Top 10” new species found? Use our map to find out, and experiment with layers to investigate land-use patterns in these regions.

Discussion Ideas
According to Nat Geo Kids, “SUNY [State University of New York] College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s International Institute for Species Exploration tries to draw attention to the issue of biodiversity loss and the importance of completing an inventory of all life on Earth by publishing an annual top ten list of new species discovered in the previous year. As you can see from the photos on this page, there are some species that have been hiding in plain sight!”

 

Anzu wyliei, the “chicken from Hell,” explores its 66 million-year-old North American environment in this terrific illustration. Illustration by Mark A. Klingler, Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Anzu wyliei, the “chicken from Hell,” explores its 66 million-year-old North American environment in this terrific illustration.
Illustration by Mark A. Klingler, Carnegie Museum of Natural History

  • Anzu wyliei: This dinosaur species made nests and sat on the eggs until they hatched. Among their bird-like features were feathers, hollow bones and a short snout with a parrot-like beak. Although Anzu wyliei is nicknamed the “chicken from Hell,” at more than 10 feet (3.5 meters)in length, 5 feet (1.5 meters) in height and 600 pounds (200-300 kilograms), this dinosaur was no chicken.

 

Branching aboveground tubers give this plant its animal-like name—coral plant. Photograph by P.B. Pelser & J.F. Barcelona

Branching aboveground tubers give this plant its animal-like name—coral plant.
Photograph by P.B. Pelser & J.F. Barcelona

 

This cartwheeling spider invokes a threatening position before tumbling toward its predator! Photograph by Prof. Dr. Ingo Rechenberg, Technical University Berlin

This cartwheeling spider invokes a threatening position before tumbling toward its predator!
Photograph by Prof. Dr. Ingo Rechenberg, Technical University Berlin

  • Cartwheeling Spider: This agile arachnid cartwheels its way out of danger. When predators comes calling, the spider runs and, about half the time, starts cartwheeling. But rather than attempting to cartwheel away, the spider propels itself toward the source of the threat, perhaps invoking the theory that the best defense is a good offense.

 

The so-called “X-phyla” are multicellular animals that look like mushrooms, with a mouth at the end of the “stem” and a flattened disc at the other end. Photograph by Jørgen Olesen

The so-called “X-phyla” are multicellular animals that look like mushrooms, with a mouth at the end of the “stem” and a flattened disc at the other end.
Photograph by Jørgen Olesen

 

Dead ants fill the “entry” chamber of the nest of this bone-house wasp, giving the animal its name. Photograph by Merten Ehmig

Dead ants fill the “entry” chamber of the nest of this bone-house wasp, giving the animal its name.
Photograph by Merten Ehmig

  • Bone-House Wasp: This insect has a unique way of protecting its offspring. First, the wasp constructs nests in hollow stems with several cells, each separated by soil walls. Then, the mother wasp kills and deposits one spider in each cell to provide nourishment for her developing young. Finally, she fills the final cell with the bodies of as many as 13 dead ants, whose toxic bodies create a chemical barrier to the nest.

 

These aren’t mother and child, they’re male (left) and female (right) Indonesian frogs. Photograph by Jimmy A. McGuire

These aren’t mother and child, they’re male (left) and female (right) Indonesian frogs.
Photograph by Jimmy A. McGuire

 

Phryganistria tamdaeoensis isn’t close to being the world’s largest stick insect, but it’s still a pretty big bug. Photograph by Jonathan Brecko

Phryganistria tamdaeoensis isn’t close to being the world’s largest stick insect, but it’s still a pretty big bug.
Photograph by Jonathan Brecko

 

Phyllodesmium acanthorhinum dazzles in shades of blue, red and gold. Photograph by Robert Bolland

Phyllodesmium acanthorhinum dazzles in shades of blue, red and gold.
Photograph by Robert Bolland

  • Sea Slug: This beautiful sea slug is a “missing link” between sea slugs that feed on hydroids (tiny animals related to jellies) and those that mostly eat corals.

 

This bromeliad is an example of a species long known to local inhabitants but only recently discovered by science. Photograph by A. Espejo

This bromeliad is an example of a species long known to local inhabitants but only recently discovered by science.
Photograph by A. Espejo

 

This spawning nest was found on a sandy bottom 85 feet (26 meters) below the ocean surface. Photograph by Yoji Okata

This spawning nest was found on a sandy bottom 85 feet (26 meters) below the ocean surface.
Photograph by Yoji Okata

  • Pufferfish: Scientists recently solved a 20-year-old mystery—and discovered a new fish. Intricate circles with geometric designs about 6 feet (2 meters) in diameter were as weird and unexplained as crop circles. They turn out to be the work of a new species of pufferfish, Torquigener albomaculosus. Males construct these circles as spawning nests by swimming and wriggling in the seafloor sand. The nests protect pufferfish eggs from turbulent waters and possibly predators.

 

 

TEACHERS’ TOOLKIT

International Institute for Species Exploration: Top 10 New Species for 2015

Nat Geo: Top 10 New Species for 2015 map

Nat Geo: Top 10 New Species for 2014

 

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