Every year thousands of new species of animals, plants, bacteria, you name it are found. Nearly 18,000 a year, which is a lot if you consider how hard we are always searching, and yet year after year there are tens of thousands more to be put in the books.
To celebrate some of the most unique finds in the College of Environmental Science and Forestry in New York publishes their top ten list annually, and this year's newcomers are captivating, strange, and certainly unique.
Why is it important to find, document, catalog, and protect newly found species?
We'll take a look at some of our favorite 2018 new species below, but I wanted to take a minute to talk about the importance of these, and all new species that we find.
Learning about new species is important because it can give us insight into how living organisms adapt to their surroundings and interact with their local ecosystems or homes. They can also give us DNA clues to help us recreate a history of events, and link other living organisms together.
Check out the top new species of 2018, and check out their book, 'What on Earth' by Quentin Wheeler to discover other winners of crazy, and amazing new species recently found!
The smallest new species in 2018
Protist: Aquarium to enigma
It might seem odd that the location of the tiniest new species of 2018 isn’t known. That’s because this species was discovered in an aquarium in San Diego. Scientists have no idea where it can be found in the wild, or where it originated from. They do know that this newest little organism has a wealth of mitochondrial genes that could help researchers learn about the evolution of other eukaryotic organisms.
The tallest new species in 2018
Atlantic forest tree: Mighty in size, small in number
Sisters to this massive tree were found nearly 100 years ago, but this tree varies enough to make it its own species. It towers at nearly 130 feet tall, with massive 1.5-foot long fruit. However, it’s numbers are critically endangered, with only 25 of these trees known to exist, with about half living in a protected reserve.
The clingiest new species in 2018
Baffling Beetle: Camouflaged hitchhiker
Location: Costa Rica
Animals are genius when it comes to finding ways to survive, and this little beetle is a master in disguise and hanging on. The new type of beetle is the same color, shape, and size as the abdomen of their host army ants. The hitch a ride as the ants travel and move about once camp is set up. Exactly how they evade becoming prey themselves and hide their presence on the ant is still a mystery to scientists.
The swingiest new species in 2018
Tapanuli Orangutan: Endangered great ape
Location: Sumatra, Indonesia
A new species of great apes was found in Indonesia that splintered genetically from the other great apes more than 3 million years ago. They are also now an endangered species with about 800 individuals in a remote area.
The deepest new species in 2018
Swire’s Snailfish: Deepest fish in the sea
Location: Western Pacific Ocean
This fish gets its name from an officer on the HMS challenger mission which discovered the Marianas trench that this fish dwells in. The small fish was found nearly 8 miles under the surface of the water. While only about 4 inches long, this fish is thought of as the best predator down there – possibly because there isn’t a whole lot down there except crushing pressure.
The darkest new species in 2018
Cave Beetle: Imprints of darkness
This newly found beetle lacks eyes or wings, an adaptation that has evolved to help it live its life in the utter darkness of the caves it was found in. This beetle is interesting in its elongated heat, a feature not seen in the insects we know and love as beetles.