To celebrate the International Institute for Species Exploration's (IISE) fifth anniversary, it has compiled a list of the Top 10 New Species of 2011. An ancient walking pink cactus and a monkey that sneezes when it rains made the list.
Usually, outlets publish top 10 lists from fashion to movies to political scandals, but none of them may be as interesting as a list put together and released by the International Institute for Species Exploration and a group of scientists from around the world.
In order to commemorate the organization’s fifth anniversary, it published the Top 10 New Species of 2011. This year’s list is a hard act to follow compared to last year’s, which consisted of a Pollinating Cricket, a Jumping Cockroach and a Pancake Batfish.
“The top 10 is intended to bring attention to the biodiversity crisis and the unsung species explorers and museums who continue a 250-year tradition of discovering and describing the millions of kinds of plants, animals and microbes with whom we share this planet,” said Quentin Wheeler, an entomologist who directs the International Institute for Species Exploration at ASU, in a news release.
So what new species made the fold?
Rhinopithecus strykeri: A sneezing monkey that was discovered in the high mountains of Myanmar (Burma). Scientists say it is critically endangered and is known for its sneezing trait, which only happens when it rains.
Tamoya ohboya: This Bonaire Banded Box Jelly has been sighted several times over the years and has a distinctive look, but it is venomous. It was dubbed as ohboya, which was suggested by a high school teacher because she presumed many people must have said, “Oh Boy!” upon their first encounter.
Halicephalobus mephisto: Named as Devil’s Worm, it is actually a nematode, part of the terrestrial multicellular organisms that live deep in the Earth. It can live in intense underground pressure and high temperatures. It was first discovered in a gold mine in South Africa.
Bulbophyllum nocturnum: Obtaining the name Night-blooming Orchid, it is a small orchid and is among approximately 25,000 known species of orchids. It opens up at 10 p.m., but closes roughly 12 hours later. These types of orchids can be found in Papua New Guinea.
Kollasmosoma sentum: You will be amazed by this creature once you view this YouTube video. It travels only one centimetre off the ground to track its target, which inserts its eggs into the unaware ant – when they are aware of the dive-bombing wasp, the ants wave their legs or turn to face the perpetrator.
Spongiforma squarepantsii: Meet the Spongebob Squarepants Mushroom (no, we’re serious). This new type of species may look like a sponge but it is actually a mushroom. Also, when you squeeze it, it bounces back to its normal shape and size. Scientists say it smells like fruit and the cartoon character lives in a pineapple and the fungus texture is similar to the tube sponges covering the seafloor of the famous cartoon.
Meconopsis autumnalis: If you travel at an elevation of approximately 12,000 feet in Nepal, you may come across the Nepalese Autumn Poppy. It was first recorded in 1962 by Adam Stainton, a Himalayan plant hunter and then again 32 years later by a staff member at the University of Tokyo.
Crurifarcimen vagans: Ew, a bug. Or is that a sausage? The Wandering Leg Sausage is a millipede that is 1.5 centimetres in diameter and maintains about 56 podous rings and each has two pairs of legs. It holds the record as the largest millipede in Tanzania’s Eastern Arc Mountains, a biodiversity hotspot.
Diania cactiformis: Since when do pink cacti walk? Well, the Walking Cactus is not really a cactus, but actually belongs to an extinct class called the armored Lobopodia. It was first discovered in southwest China’s Cambrian deposits approximately 520 million years ago.
Pterinopelma sazimai: Sazima’s Tarantula is a dazzling blue tarantula found in Brazil. The South American nation is a significant source of new species, especially in the country’s Amazon basin, tropical Andes and its Atlantic forest.