One might imagine that there is not much of the animal kingdom that remains to be discovered. Certainly explorers and researchers have covered virtually every inch of the globe, right? Well, here are nine newly discovered species that defy that belief. Some are already battling for survival, while other newly discovered animals may offer us invaluable insights that will help the human species.
9. Yeti Crab (South Pacific)
This six-inch long decapod hangs out around hydrothermal vents in the South Pacific Ocean’s depths. Their fur-like “coat” inspired the reference to the mythological Yeti. In reality, the “fur” is actually home to unique bacteria that detoxify poisons spewed by the vents. As a result, the Yeti Crab can enjoy the warmth of the vents without suffering a poisoned fate. Scientists hope to garner clues from this deep-dwelling crustacean about how to de-toxify certain water-borne poisons. That could make this “hairy” crab quite important indeed.
8. The Parasitic, Egg-Laying Wasp (Spain)
This parasite, “Kollosmosoma sentum,” loves ants, but for a weird reason. It hunts down ants but for one reason — to provide a home for its eggs. This tiny wasp swoops in and stings an ant in the abdomen in just five one-hundredths of a second. It is not just doing this for kicks. It’s engaged in a high-speed delivery of its eggs into the ant’s abdomen, where they are apparently very happy to reside.
7. Megalura Garuda (Indonesia)
Now, if those teeny, tiny wasps don’t impress you all that much, what about one that is two inches long? In 2011, the first live Megalura Garuda wasps were captured on the island of Sulawesi. As big as they are, they are no match for deforestation, which threatens the future of this recently discovered species.
6. The Yellow Rain Frog (Panama)
The discovery of this unique “staining” frog was announced in western Panama in 2012. The tiny frog is only two centimeters long. It possesses two startling characteristics. First, its yellow skin is capable of excreting the yellow dye, thereby staining its attackers. Researchers ended up with yellow hands, giving new meaning to the term “marked man!” Also a “tad” unusual is that there is no tadpole stage in the development of these Panamanian frogs. Eggs hatch, and little frogs pop right out.
5. Walter’s Duiker (West Africa)
This little four-legged creature bears a resemblance to other African animals many times it size. In reality, it stands only about 16-inches tall. The Duiker has distinctive back legs that are a good bit longer than the front ones. It was officially discovered in 2010 in West Africa, in the Dahomey Gap region. Walter’s Duiker is native to Nigeria, Benin, and Togo. You might think that those hind legs are built for speed, but this mammal does need all that much speed to chase down the berries that it typically grazes on.
4. The Lesula (Congo)
The Lesula is a recently discovered species of monkey first noted in 2007. It is only the second new species of monkey to be discovered over the past three decades. To “discover” this new species of monkey, John and Therese Hart of Yale simply needed to walk into the home of a school teacher in Opala, where the Lesula was merely hanging out.
It’s garnered that much more attention as a new species because it’s face is amazingly human-like. It appears to have a distinct expression, like it’s wanting to tell you something. What is less human-like are the vibrant blue bald patches that appear on the Lesula’s backside. One can assume that, given its jungle home, the blue patches are not a sign of this monkey being cold.
3. The Goliath “Bird-Eating” Spider (Guyana)
One rarely sees references to the weight of spiders — they’re usually just too small for that to be much of an issue. Well, this giant tarantula can reach six ounces in weight. That’s heavy enough for you to feel it no matter where it decides to crawl around on your body — sleep well tonight.
This is a recently discovered species that was first officially recorded in Guyana in 2006. Regardless of the reference to birds in its fear-inducing name, it actually prefers lizards and small mammals. It can also turn the tables on certain venomous snakes by actually consuming them.
Oddly, this tarantula’s venom is not its greatest annoyance. The venom usually just causes swelling for a number of hours. Instead, it has a unusual ability to throw off hairs from its body that are nearly invisible as they float through the air. They can stick in one’s eyes and cause a whole lot of irritation.
2. Red-bearded Titi (Columbia)
This diminutive primate is a native of the Amazonian rainforest, a still-vast stretch of heavily foliated land that continues to yield dramatic new discoveries. In 2008, in a part of the rainforest located in Columbia, the Red-bearded Titi was officially discovered. None too soon, because only a couple of hundred may still remain in the Amazon. We need to keep them around in part because they have something important to teach us — how to successfully mate for life. This is actually a pretty unusual habit across the world of primates. Couples often like to sit high up on tree branches with their tails sweetly intertwined. Each committed twosome typically has a baby about once a year, and the male performs most of the required infant care.
1. A New Slow Loris — “Nycticebus Kayan” (Borneo)
The “Nycticebus Kayan” was acknowledged in late 2012 as being a new species of slow loris. The mask of this entirely new species features dark patches within which their eyes are set. This nocturnal, venomous primate hails from Borneo and is the only venomous primate.
It’s believed that this cousin of the lemur was not discovered until recently because of its nocturnal lifestyle. Additionally, many nocturnal animals look visually similar, so it is often harder to distinguish among similar species. Sadly, the “Nycticebus Kayan,” is on a “fast track” from discovery to potential extinction, as they are trying to survive a multi-prong assault that includes deforestation, poaching, superstitious rituals, and Asian medicine. For example, there is an unsubstantiated belief that their tears can be used to treat eye diseases in humans. Others are trying to turn them into exotic pets.
They’ve also suffered because of YouTube videos that make them look “cute” by holding forks, umbrellas, etc. In reality, they only grab onto such objects because they are scared, and they are used to always holding onto branches in the wilds of Borneo. Even CNN promoted the videos as entertainment, when the lorises pictured were, in reality, scared.