- New Species of 2014 (Credit:International Institute for Species)
- 2014-12-02 23:13:24
An appealing carnivorous mammal, a 12-meter-tall tree that has been hiding in plain sight and a sea anemone that lives under an Antarctic glacier are among the species identified by the SUNY-ESF International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) as the top 10 species discovered last year.
1. Olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina)
Location: South America
This small mammal with fluffy red-orange fur, a short bushy tail, and an adorable, rounded face has leapt onto the raccoon family tree. Last summer, Scientists at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington announced the discovery of a new species of mammal called the olinguito (pronounced oh-lin-GHEE-toe) -- the first mammalian carnivore species to be newly identified in the Americas in 35 years.
2. Kaweesak's Dragon Tree (Dracaena kaweesakii)
Sounding like something out of Game of Thrones and standing 12 meters (nearly 40 feet) tall, it's hard to believe the dragon tree went unnoticed this long. Beautiful, soft, sword-shaped leaves with white edges and cream-colored flowers with bright orange filaments are the hallmarks of this impressive plant. The dragon tree is found in the limestone mountains of the Loei and Lop Buri Provinces in Thailand.
3. ANDRILL AnemoneI (Edwardsiella andrillae)
A species of sea anemone, living under a glacier on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica, raises questions by its very existence. It is not clear how the species withstands the harsh conditions in its habitat. It is the first species of sea anemone reported to live in ice.
4. Skeleton Shrimp (Liropus minusculus)
This tiny shrimp, the smallest in the genus, was identified from among specimens originally collected from a cave on that island of romance, sunny Santa Catalina, off the coast of Southern California. Part of a marine family known as skeleton shrimp, only distantly related to the ones some humans love to dip in cocktail sauce, this crustacean is the first of its genus to be reported in the northeastern Pacific.
5. Orange Penicillium (Penicillium vanoranjei)
Distinguished by the bright orange color it displays when produced in colonies, this fungus was named as a tribute to the Dutch royal family, specifically His Royal Highness the Prince of Orange.
6. Leaf-tailed Gecko (Saltuarius eximius)
It's not easy to spot this gecko, which has an extremely wide tail that is employed as part of its camouflage. With longer limbs, a more slender body and larger eyes than other Saltuarius species, this one has a mottled coloration that allows it to blend in with its surroundings.
7. Amoeboid Protist (Spiculosiphon oceana)
Location: Mediterranean Sea
This one-celled organism is four to five centimeters high (1.5 to two inches), making it a giant in the world of single-celled creatures. This foram (part of a distinct group among the many amoeboids) from the Mediterranean Sea gathers pieces of silica spicules, which are actually sponge fragments, from its surroundings and uses them like so many Lego blocks to construct a shell.
8. Clean Room Microbes (Tersicoccus phoenicis)
Locations: Florida and French Guiana
There are some things we don't want to send into space and the newly discovered clean room microbes are among them. Found in rooms where spacecraft are assembled, this microbial species could potentially contaminate other planets that the spacecraft visit. Tersicoccus phoenicis was independently collected from the floors of two separate clean rooms around 2,500 miles apart, one in Florida and one in French Guiana.
9. Tinkerbell Fairyfly (Tinkerbella nana)
Location: Costa Rica
The tiny size and delicately fringed wings of the parasitoid wasp family Mymaridae led to their common name: fairyflies. Tinkerbella nana, named for Peter Pan's fairy sidekick, measures just 250 micrometers (0.00984 inches) and is among the smallest insects. It is the latest addition to the 1,400 or so known species of the family.
10. Domed Land Snail (Zospeum tholussum)
Living in complete darkness some 900-plus meters (nearly 3,000 feet) below the surface in the Lukina Jama-Trojama caves of western Croatia is Zospeum tholussum. This land snail lacks eyes as they're not necessary in the total darkness of the caves, and it has no shell pigmentation giving it a ghost-like appearance.