Sunday, 3 June 2012

Meet the top 10 new species of 2012


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A 'devil's worm', a sneezing monkey and an orchid that only blooms at night 
have been named in the latest top 10 list of new species. 
Chosen by scientists from 200 nominated animals and plants described for the 
first time last year, a venomous jellyfish, giant millipede, parasitic wasp and 
a blue tarantula also make the top 10.
1: Sneezing monkey
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The sneezing monkey, or Rhinopithecus strykeri, is the first snub-nosed monkey to be found in the
high mountains of Myanmar and is believed to be critically endangered. It is distinctive for its mostly 
black fur and white beard and for sneezing when it rains. The odd-looking monkey is known to avoid 
dripping rainwater in its turned up nose by sitting with its head between its legs. Gesundheit! 
Photo credit: Thomas Geissmann/Fauna & Flora International

2: Sazima's tarantula
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Not only is this iridescent blue tarantula breathtakingly beautiful, it is the first new animal species
from Brazil to have ever made it to the annual top 10. The survival of this striking, iridescent blue 
hairy spider from South America, is at risk due to loss of habitat and over-collecting for the pet trade. 
Pterinopeima sazimai inhabits tabletop mountains in a remote part of eastern Brazil. 
Photo credit: Rogerio Bertani/ Instituto Butantan

3: Spongebob Squarepants mushroom

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Meet the new mushroom that can be squeezed like a sponge and bears an uncanny resemblance to 
the popular cartoon character. Once squeezed, the mushroom-like object bounces back to its normal size and shape. 
According to its discoverers, 'its unusual shape is unlike anything else known.' Photo credit: Thomas Bruns

4: Nepalese autumn poppy 
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Many newly discovered species are small in size or secretive in habits, but not all.
This beautiful and vibrantly coloured poppy has remained unknown to science until now. 
Blossoming at an incredible 10,827 to 13,780 feet in central Nepal, it's no wonder the horticultural 
phenomenon has not yet been found. The poppy blooms in the autumn monsoon season and can only be
 reached by hiking miles into the Himalayan wilderness....

5: Bonaire banded box jelly
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This strikingly beautiful but venomous box jelly also known as Tamoya ohboya has been sighted numerous times 
since 2011. The specimen is sometimes named 'Oh Boy!' because, according to scientists, it's so cool-looking that
 people exclaim "oh boy!" when they see it (or when they're stung!) Photo credit: Ned DeLoach

6: Night-blooming orchid
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The discovery of this new species is significant because it has the first night-blooming flowers 
recorded among the more than 25,000 known species of orchids. The slender bizarre-looking flowers of 
Bulbophyllum nocturnum are rather small and start to open around 10pm but close the next morning, 
lasting only about 12 hours. This new species is known from a single plant and may be at risk due to 
habitat loss from logging ...

7: Wandering leg sausage

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Although this millipede is no match in length for the giant African millipede which measures 38cm, 
this new species holds a new record as the largest millipede (16 cm) in one of the world's biodiversity hotspots, 
Tanzania's Eastern Arc Mountains. It's name is appropriate given the fat, sausage-like shape of the millipede's body 
about 1.5 cm in diameter. 
The creepy crawly's body contains about 56 podous rings (body segments bearing ambulatory limbs) – 
each with two pairs of legs.You would find this creature in the eastern and western Usambara Mountain 
forests at elevations of 940 to 1800 meters in decaying wood. Photo credit: G. Brovad

8: Dive-bombing wasps 
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This new species of parasitic wasp cruises at just one centimeter above the ground when in search of its target. 
When its host is located - an ant - this teensy wasp attacks from the air like a tiny dive bomber and deposits an egg 
in the unsuspecting ant in less than 0.05 seconds. Photo credit: C. van Achterberg

9: Devil's worm 
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Measuring about 0.5 mm in length, these tiny nematodes are the deepest-living terrestrial multicellular organisms on earth. 
Discovered at a depth of 1.3 km in a South African gold mine, this species is remarkable for surviving immense pressure 
as well as high temperatures below the planet's surface.

10: Creepy crawly Cambrian cactus
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This new species looks more like a cactus than an animal at first glance, but Diania cactiformis belongs to an 
extinct group of lobopodians which had wormlike bodies and multiple pairs of legs. Measuring about 6 cm long 
(2.4 inches), it was first discovered in the famous Chengjiang deposit in southwest China in Cambrian deposits 
about 520 million years old. The ancient, spiny creature nicknamed the 'walking cactus' that may have used its 
bristly legs to capture prey. Photo credit: Jianni Liu

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