From the 18,000 new species discovered by scientists in 2013, these are the top ten.
Or, at least, so says the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE), which has released its annual list to coincide with the birthday of Carolus Linnaeus, the 18th century Swedish botanist often considered to be the father of modern taxonomy.
The list is as varied as you’d expect, including a tree-dwelling carnivore about the size of small housecat, a miniscule ‘skeleton shrimp’ that looks terrifying under the microscope, and a nocturnal gecko covered in spines and camouflaged to disappear among rocks.
The creatures were selected by an international committee, and aims to call attention to discoveries that are made “even as species are going extinct faster than they are being identified.”
“The majority of people are unaware of the dimensions of the biodiversity crisis," said Dr. Quentin Wheeler, a founding director of the IISE, in a press release.
“The top 10 is designed to bring attention to the unsung heroes addressing the biodiversity crisis by working to complete an inventory of earth's plants, animals and microbes.”
The IISE estimates that there are still 10 million undiscovered species on the planet – five times the numbers currently known to science.