Sunday 23 November 2014

Meet the top ten new species of 2014

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The olinguito is the first new carnivorous mammal described in the western hemisphere in 35 years (Smithsonian Institute/PA)
The olinguito is the first new carnivorous mammal described in the western hemisphere in 35 years (Smithsonian Institute/PA)
Found in the limestone mountains of Thailand, this 12-metre tall tree is remarkable for going unnoticed for so long. It has sword-shaped leaves and cream flowers with orange filaments, and only 2,500 individual trees are thought to be in existence.
Perhaps the only species in existence named after a drilling program, thousands of these hardy anemones were found burrowed into the underside of an ice shelf in the Antarctic with their tentacles floating in the icy water. Measuring less than inch in length they were named after the Antarctic Geological Drilling Program or Andrill.
The male Liropus minusculus measures just 3.3 millimeters across and is the smallest specimen in its genus. Its eerie, translucent body helps it lie in wait for long periods of time before snatching up and eating even smaller creatures than itself
Named in tribute to the Dutch royal family (that's the House of Orange of course), this new fungus was found in soil from Tunisia and is distinguished by its bright orange colour when it grows. Photo by Cobus M. Visagie.
Living in complete darkness more than 900 metres below the surface has left this tiny snail with no pigmentation in its shell. Discovered in the caves of western Croatia the Zospeum tholussum is also a slow mover, creeping just a few centimeters each week.
The mottled colouring on this gecko helps it blend in with the rain forests and rocky habitats of eastern Australia. It also has an extremely wide tail (from which it gets its name) to further confuse predators.
Discovered in the clean rooms where spacecraft are assembled, Tersicoccus phoenicis is a microbial species that could potentially contaminate any planets we visit.
Despite growing to as high as four to five centimeters, this is a single-celled organism, that looks more like a carnivorous sponge than its fellow microorganisms. Called Spiculosiphon oceana, it was discovered 30 miles off the southeast coast of Spain.

From tree-dwelling carnivores to translucent shrimp

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