Scientists from the Institute of Species Explorations have published their yearly top of new species for 2016. The discoveries came from Brazil, Gabon, Ecuador, Spain, Peru, Australia, South Africa and the Gulf of Mexico. One of their discoveries had been triggered by a Facebook post made by a person in Brazil.
Drosera, the Carnivorous Plant
A man posted on social media a photo of a plant that used mucus on its leaves to trap insects. A botanist accidentally observed that this plant was four feet tall, which made it particularly interesting – the sundew does not grow this tall in Brazil. The species was immediately considered to be endangered. It only grows on the peak of a single mountain from Brazil.
The Giant Tortoise from Galapagos
The Santa Cruz Island is the home for two different populations of tortoises. The eastern population, having as much as 250 individuals, is a distinct species. The scientists named her after one of the park rangers: Chelonoidis donfaustoi.Galapagos Turtles are representative of Darwin’s work.
The Pink Sea Dragon
This beautiful species lives in the offshore waters of Australia. It is colored in a mix of dark red and pink, and it’s almost 10 inches long. Sea dragons are related to sea horses and up until now there are only three species discovered from this family. Their color is a camouflage technique which helps them survive in the dark waters.
The African Damselfly
Surprisingly enough, almost 60 new species of dragonflies and damselflies were discovered in Africa this year. The insect order was thought to be one of the best known. The majority of the new species are brightly colored and easy to identify. The name of this particular new species was taken from the name of Pink Floyd’s albums: Umma gumma.
The Isopod Architect
Isopods are blind crustaceans living in water or on land, having no pigments and many legs. The newly discovered species lives in a single cave in Brazil and has an unusual behavior: it builds shelters from mud. The isopod is only 9 mm long and has plates at the end of its legs – which give it an exotic appearance.
Less than 20% of the existing species are scientifically described, which makes unknown species to be as numerous as 10 million. Discovering new species is important for scientists because they can set up conservation measures in order to preserve Earth’s biodiversity.
Image Source: Wikipedia