Top 20 New Species of 2014

Top 20 New Species of 2014

Jan 18, 2015 by Natali Anderson compiles an annual list of the top 20 new species of animals, plants and insects found in the past twelve months.

1. Araguaian boto (Inia araguaiaensis), a new species of true river dolphin from Brazil:

Inia araguaiaensis. Image credit: © Nicole Dutra.

The Araguaian boto (or Boto-do-Araguaia) can be found in the lower and middle Araguaia River from Barra do Garças to the Santa Isabel rapids, and in several tributaries such as Vermelho, Peixe, Crixás-Açú and Água Limpa Rivers, and dos Tigres and Rico Lakes, all in the state of Goiás, and Lake Montaria in the state of Mato Grosso.

Before the discovery, only five species of true river dolphins were known: the Amazon river dolphin (Inia geoffrensis), the Bolivian river dolphin (Inia boliviensis), the South Asian river dolphin (Platanista gangetica), the La Plata dolphin (Pontoporia blainvillei) and the Baiji.

2. Phryganistria heusii yentuensis, the world’s second-longest insect:

Dr Joachim Bresseel holding a 31.7-cm-long female Phryganistria heusii yentuensis. Image credit: Joachim Bresseel / Jerome Constant.

Phryganistria heusii yentuensis is a stick-insect found in northeast Vietnam.

It can reach up to 32 cm in body length and 52 cm with forelimbs stretched out.

3. Moroccan flic-flac spider (Cebrennus rechenbergi), a cartwheeling spider from Morocco:

The Moroccan flic-flac spider, Cebrennus rechenbergi. Image credit: Ingo Rechenberg.

The Moroccan flic-flac spider belongs to Sparassidae, a family of spiders known as huntsmen due to their speed and mode of hunting.

It is a nocturnal spider native to the Morocco’s southeastern desert, Erg Chebbi.

According to scientists, the spider is able to move by means of flic-flac jumps. Like a gymnast, it propels itself off the ground, followed by a series of rapid flic-flac movements of its legs.

The flic-flac jumps, at almost 2 m/sec, allow the spider to move twice as fast as in simple walking mode.

4. Dendrogramma enigmatica and D. discoides, two unclassifiable deep-sea animals from Australia:

Specimens of Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides (with *). Image credit: Just J et al.

Copenhagen University researcher Dr Jørgen Olesen and his colleagues collected Dendrogramma enigmatica and D. discoides at 400 and 1,000 m deep on the Australian continental slope off eastern Bass Strait and Tasmania.

According to scientists, these mushroom-shaped organisms cannot at present be placed in an existing phylum (primary subdivision of a taxonomic kingdom).

5. Aquitanian pike (Esox aquitanicus), a fish species from France:

The Aquitanian pike (Esox aquitanicus), holotype specimen. Image credit: G.P.J. Denys et al.

The Aquitanian pike can be found in the Charente, Dordogne, Eyre, and Adour basins; Lake Mouriscot constitutes its currently known most southern location.

The fish has grey to yellow-green flanks adorned with 16 to 30 oblique vertical bars with a width of 1–1.5 scale. The fins’ color is yellow to orange; dark pigmentation on paired fins are faint, as opposed to the unpaired fins which have well-developed dark vermiculations.

Some specimens can exceed 1 meter in total length.

6. Musa arunachalensis, a species of wild banana from India:

Musa arunachalensis. Image credit: Sreejith PE et al.

Musa arunachalensis is found in West Kameng District, Arunachal Pradesh, northeastern India.

The species flowers and fruits from January to May and differs from other Musaspecies in the nature of its inflorescence. The color of the bract is reddish orange with a yellow tip.

7. Black-tailed antechinus (Antechinus arktos), a species of marsupial from Australia:

The Black-tailed Antechinus, Antechinus arktos. Image credit: © Gary Cranitch, Queensland Museum.

The Black-tailed antechinus is a carnivorous, mouse-like marsupial.

It is known only from areas of high altitude and high rainfall on the Tweed Volcano caldera of far south-east Queensland and north-east New South Wales, Australia.

8. Deraniyagala’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon hotaula), a species of beaked whale from the Pacific:

Mother, right, and calf of the Deraniyagala's beaked whale (Mesoplodon hotaula) at Palmyra Atoll in 2007. Notable are the cookie-cutter shark bites healed in dark skin callercolor, pronounced melon and beak, and large blow hole. Image credit: S. Baumann-Pickering, via R.L. Brownell et al.

The Deraniyagala’s beaked whale is known only from seven specimens found stranded on tropical islands in the western and central Pacific.

9. Aetobatus narutobiei, a species of eagle ray from northwest Pacific:

Lateral head view of Aetobatus narutobiei. Image credit: White WT et al.

Aetobatus narutobiei is a medium- to large-sized ray, up to 1.5 m in width.

The species is found in the waters off eastern Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, Korea and southern Japan.

It is particularly abundant in Ariake Bay in southern Japan where it is considered a pest species that predates heavily on farmed bivalve stocks.

10. Edwardsiella andrillae, a species of sea anemone from waters beneath the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica:

In an underwater image, Edwardsiella andrillae anemones protrude from the bottom surface of the Ross Ice Shelf. They glow in the camera's light. Image credit: Frank Rack / ANDRILL Science Management Office, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Edwardsiella andrillae is the first known sea anemone to live in ice.

The species is very small, measuring less than 2.5 cm in length.

It lives upside down, hanging from the ice, compared to other sea anemones that live on or in the seafloor.

11. Pempheris flavicycla, a tropical fish from the Indian Ocean:

Pempheris flavicycla marisrubri, Ras Mohammed, Red Sea. Image credit: S.V. Bogorodsky.

Pempheris flavicycla measures 12-14 cm in length and has a bright yellow ring around the pupil of the eye, a black outer border on the anal and caudal fins and a black spot at the base of the pectoral fins.

The species can be found in clear-water, coral-reef areas not exposed to heavy seas, and usually in less than 15 m.

12-16. Ryland’s bold-faced saki (Pithecia rylandsi), Mittermeier’s Tapajos Saki (Pithecia mittermeieri), Isabel’s Saki (Pithecia isabela), Cazuza’s saki (Pithecia cazuzai), and Pissinatti’s bald-faced saki (Pithecia pissinattii) – five species of saki monkeys from South America:

The Pissinatti’s bald-faced saki (Pithecia pissinattii), at Juma Jungle Lodge, Brazil, adult male. Image credit: Crijnfotin.

Saki monkeys (sakis or flying monkeys) are a poorly studied group of primates.

These monkeys can quickly flee an area through the treetops in a series of leaps of up to 9 meters.

They form small groups of 2 to 9 individuals, generally comprising a single male-female breeding pair and several young.

The Ryland’s bold-faced saki lives in north-western Bolivia, south-eastern Peru, and possibly in the south of the state of Rondônia and the west of the state of Mato Grosso in Brazil.

The Mittermeier’s Tapajos Saki is found only in Brazil, south of the Rio Amazonas between the rios Madeira and Tapajos.

The Isabel’s saki is found only in Peru.

The Cazuza’s saki lives in Brazil and is currently known only from very northern sections south of the Rio Solimões on either side of the Rio Juruá at Fonte Boa and Uarini.

The Pissinatti’s bald-faced saki is known only from Brazil, south of the Rio Solimões in the northern area between the rios Purus and Madeira.

17-18. Keesingia gigas and Malo bella, two extremely venomous Irukandji jellyfish from Australia:

Keesingia gigas in bloom of sea tomatoes, Crambione mastigophora. Image credit: John Totterdell / MIRG Australia.

Irukandji jellyfish are able to fire their stingers into their victim. Their stings are only moderately painful. However, 20-30 min later some patients may develop systemic symptoms collectively known as Irukandji syndrome.

The condition can cause severe abdominal pain, back, limb or joint pain, nausea and vomiting, profuse sweating and agitation. The patients may also experience numbness or paraesthesia. More severe reactions to Irukandji stings can include hypertension and tachycardia. The symptoms last from hours to weeks, and victims usually require hospitalization.

Keesingia gigas and Malo bella are both believed to cause Irukandji syndrome.

While most Irukandji jellyfish range from 5 mm to 2.5 cm in bell height,Keesingia gigas can reach 50 cm. To date, only two cases of stinging by this species have been documented – one produced severe Irukandji syndrome, whilst the other caused only local and groin pain.

Malo bella has a small, bell-shaped body, about 19 mm in bell height. It is the smallest species yet described in the genus Malo.

19. Lophiaris silverarum, a species of orchid from Panama:

Lophiaris silverarum. Image credit: K. Silvera / University of California, Riverside.

The Orchid family contains the largest number of plant species in the world – up to 30,000. Panama alone has about 1,100 known species.

Orchids are unique in that the flower’s female and male reproductive parts are fused together. They can easily hybridize or cross and, as a result, some 300,000 orchid hybrids are man-made and commercially available to the public.

Lophiaris silverarum is known to grow only in central Panama. The species blooms in November, the flowers lasting about a month.

20. Bumba lennoni, a species of tarantula from Brazil:

Bumba lennoni. Image credit: © Laura Miglio / Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi.

Named after John Lennon, Bumba lennoni belongs to the tarantula family Theraphosidae.

It is a mainly nocturnal spider, about 3-4 cm long.

As other tarantulas it has defensive hairs on the abdomen that produce irritation upon contact with the skin or sensible tissues.

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