The International Institute for Species Exploration has picked Top 10 strange creatures of 18,000 new species named in the previous year. The list includes a peculiar carnivorous mammal, a 12-meter-tall tree that has been hiding in plain sight and a sea anemone that was discovered under an Antartic glacier. The new species list was launched in 2008 and is released on May 23 of every year to mark the birthday of 18th century Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeud, who is named as the Father of Modern Taxonomy.
The Top 10 New Species of 2014
1. Skeleton Shrimp (Liropus minusculus)
This tiny Crustacean, the smallest in the genus was identified in a cave on Santa Catalina off the coast of Southern California. The new shrimp has an eerie, translucent appearance that makes it resemable a skeletal structure. The male’s body measures 3.3mm; the female is even smaller at 2.1mm.
2. Olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina)
Location: South America
The appealing carnivore was found hidden in cloud forests of the Andes Mountains in Colombia and Ecuador. The Olinguito measures 2 1/2 feet from nose to tail and weighs around 2 pounds. The tendency for the carnivore to live secretly in the trees, helped keep the species relatively obscure to researchers previously, Helgen said.
3. Kaweesak’s Dragon Tree (Dracaena kaweesakii)
Mother of Dragons sounding like something out of Game of Thrones measuring 12 metres in height, it’s hard to believe the dragon tree went unidentified until now. Soft, sword-shaped leaves and cream-colored flowers with bright orange filaments are the unique features of this impressive plant. Because of the small number of plants- about 2,500- the species are believed to be endangered.
4. Leaf-tailed Gecko (Saltuarius eximius)
It’s not easy to spot this gecko because of its wide tail that is used for camouflage. With longer limbs, a more slender body and larger eyes than others of the same species, this one has mottled coloration that helps it to blend with its surroundings. The gecko was spotted on rocky terrain in isolated rain forests of the Melville Range of eastern Australia.
5.Domed Land Snail (Zospeum tholussum)
The snail was spotted living in complete darkness nearly 3,000 feet below the surface in the Lukina Jama-Trojama caves of western Croatia. The species lacks eyes as they’re not necessary in the total darkness of the caves and its nearly translucent shell accounts for the ghostly appearance of the animal.
6.Tinkerbell Fairyfly (Tinkerbella nana)
Location: Costa Rica
The Fairyfly belonging to the parasitoid wasp family Mymaridae got its name from its tiny size (250 micrometers) and delicately fringed wings. The new species was collected by sweeping vegetation in secondary growth forest at LaSelva Biological Station in Costa Rica. Although its host is not yet known, like other fairyflies it presumably has a life span of not more than a few days and attacks the eggs of other insects.
7.Clean Room Microbes (Tersicoccus phoenicis)
Locations: Florida and French Guiana
In spite of NASA’s efforts to disinfect rooms where the spacecraft are assembled, these microbial species make their way into space to contaminate other planets. The above species were collected from the floors of two separate clean rooms which were 2,500 miles away from each other one in Florida and one in French Guiana.
8.Amoeboid Protist (Spiculosiphon oceana)
Location: Mediterranean Sea
The species is a unicellular organism, measuring 4 to 5 cm, making it one of the largest unicellular organisms in the Mediterranean Sea. It has a stalk like body that expands into a bulb with spicules to trap invertebrates.
9.Orange Penicillium (Penicillium vanoranjei)
The new fungus is characterized by the bright orange color it displays when produced in colonies. This fungus was named as a tribute to His Royal Highness the Prince of Orange. According to a journal published by the National Herbarium of the Netherlands, this new fungus was isolated from soil in Tunisia.
10.ANDRILL Anemone (Edwardsiella andrillae)
Andrill Anemone was discovered under a glacier on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antartica. It’s still a mystery how the species withstands unstable conditions in its habitat. This revealed the presence of small creatures, less than 2.5 centimeters long (one inch) with most of their pale yellow bodies burrowed into the ice shelf and their roughly two dozen tentacles dangling into the frigid water below.