9 new species of animals to celebrate in the new year (2023)

Despite the challenges facing the world today, planet earth is the gift that keeps on giving.This is good news for scientists who enjoy the adrenaline rush of discovery, as some believe.about 8.7 million species.

Arecent article onTo discoverHe stated: “In the last 250 years of scientific classification, biologists have discovered and described as many as 1.2 million different species of plants and animals. One frequently quoted paper claims that about 86% of the planet's plants and animals have yet to be formally classified, including about 91% of oceanic species.

New species discovered last year

Some 18,000 new species are discovered each year, but we'll respect your reading time and list just nine of our recent favorites. From the super-bright grasshopper to a miniature fish, these elusive creatures give us hope for Earth's biodiversity for centuries to come.

Since they're new and shy (to us), you probably won't see these animals on Nat Hab tours, but the conservation journey you embark on helps protect even animals we don't necessarily see.

Without further ado, our nine new varieties shine...

1. Fawn Pad,Synapturanus danta

Claim to fame:His "super" muzzle and his high-pitched cry.

It was the shrill cry ofthe tapir reads(its distinctive snout and other features resemble the Amazon tapir in appearance) that led researchers to capture several specimens of this new species. Discovered in the Amazon peat swamp of Peru's Putumayo Basin, the hard-to-find frogs are fossilized, meaning they hide beneath the forest floor. And usually they are heard but not seen. The researchers kept hearing a kind of squeak underground, leading them to suspect a new species of burrowing frog.

The very existence of the tiny tapir frog gives biologists hope for the health and biodiversity of the Amazon region.

"These frogs are very hard to find, and that leads to them being poorly studied," he says.michelle thompson, a researcher at the Keller Science Action Center at the Field Museum in Chicago. "It is an example of the hidden diversity of the Amazon."

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Nat Hab and WWF travelers search for wildlife on a hike through the Amazon rainforest © Megan Koelemay

exposed:in the peruvian amazon

Fun fact:Harry Potter fans on social media began dubbing the tapir frog the "chocolate frog" because of its resemblance to the cocoa candies found in the famous witch and wizard letters exchanged by Hogwarts students.

Nearest Nat Hab trip:The Great Amazon River Expedition

2. Spiny lizard,Sceloporus huichol

Claim to fame:Discovered in a museum collection, not in nature.

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Sceloporus was tortured, a close relative of the newly discovered speciesSceloporus huichol,where can i see a picture ofhereParijs Ruvalcaba

Not what you'd expect, right? Instead of an intrepid biologist wandering through a forest in search of an elusive new species of lizard, this discovery took place in a museum. AccordingTo discover,“By examining samples from nearly 10 separate scientific institutions, experts have identified a new species of spiny lizard,Sceloporus huichol.”

Specimens varied in color, genetics, and habitat, but are now all classified asSceloperus huichol,It takes its name from the indigenous tribe of the same name that lives in central Mexico.

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© Tribunal Whelan

exposed:In the forests of central Mexico

Fun fact:The discovery of this new spiny lizard could lead to the discovery of other new species in the Jalisco and Nayarit region of west-central Mexico. A new species of snake was found there in 2007 and it is believed that more undescribed species may be discovered in this relatively unexplored region.

Nearest Nat Hab trip:kingdom two monarchs

3. Sponge crab,Lamarckdromia beagle

Claim to fame:Fashion look, with a "fluffy" coat and a marine sponge beret.

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© Colin McLay / Courtesy of the Western Australian Museum

Sponge crabs are known to scientists for their clever camouflage tactics: they "carry" sea sponges in their shells to hide from predators. According to an article inTo discover,"Wrapped in 'furry and surprisingly soft' fur,scientistssay the fluffy fur ofLamarckdromia beagleit could protect the species from predators as an extra layer of camouflage.”

Crabs run along the ocean floor, picking up sponges and sea squirts and grasping them with tiny pincers on their hind legs (with a particular preference for those creatures that produce nasty chemicals).

It was a family that was enjoying the beach one day and discovered the crab, which they sent to the Western Australian Museum for identification. This led the researchers to take a closer look at the crab specimens already in the museum, revealing that some of them were actually crabs.Lamarckdromie lack, the oldest of which dates from 1925.

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Snorkel with sea turtles and look for sponge crabs on the Great Barrier Reef! © Nat Hab partner Lady Elliot

exposed:Off the coast of Denmark, Western Australia

Fun fact:The "beagle" in the name refers to the brown color of the sponge crab, just like the dog.HMS Beagle, in which Charles Darwin sailed.

Nearest Nat Hab trip:

4. Southern maned sloth,hairy bradypus

Claim to fame:A sloth hiding in plain sight.

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Three-toed sloth (The bradypus was crooked), a relative of the newly discoveredhairy bradypusgentle.

What was previously believed to be a type of sloth roaming the Brazilian jungle turned out to actually be two different species: one from the north and one from the south. The northern species was first discovered in 1811, while the southern species, with a flatter skull, was identified in September 2022. It's not often that scientists identify a new mammal species: it's more common than plants, invertebrates, fish or amphibians. discover

Both species are endemic to the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, with southern maned sloths in Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo and northern maned sloths in Bahia and Sergipe.

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Nat Hab and WWF Expedition LeaderCasiano (Zapa) Zaparoliteaches travelers about Brazil's wildlife © Mandy Scott

exposed:In the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, around Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo

Fun fact:The genus name "crinitus" comes from the Latin word for hair and perfectly describes this furry mammal.

Nearest Nat Hab trip:

5. laughed,Lygodactylus fritzi

Claim to fame:One of eight new species of small gecko discovered in Madagascar.

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Native to Madagascar, it is a pygmy panther gecko (Paroedura androyensis) is small in stature, like its dwarf gecko relatives, which are part of theLygodactylus madagascariensisgroup type

Until recently, theLygodactylus madagascariensisThe species group included five species of dwarf geckos that lived in the rainforests of Madagascar. 2022,Scientists have named eight new species of gecko, including this oneLygodactylus fritzi,all of which are considered endangered or critically endangered.

Madagascar is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world, with a wide variety of endemic plants, amphibians, reptiles and insects. The eight new gecko species join the 150 new reptile species named here in the past 30 years.

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Nat Hab and WWF travelers are entertained by local Madagascar residents. You can see these lemurs and other rainforest animals on many of our nature walks! © Alek Kormanitski

exposed:in madagascar

Fun fact:OL. fritziit is small, measuring 53 mm from snout to tip of tail.

Nearest Nat Hab trip:Animal adventure in Madagascar

6. Frog of Vale das Antas,Tialocohyla celeste

Claim to fame:Large vocal cords.

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the mahogany frogspeaking tlalocohyla(pictured above) is a type of toad in the familyHylidae.One of the other five species of the genus.Tlalocohyla(Anura, Hylidae) is the newly discovered frog from the Tapir Valley. You can see a picture and read a formal description of the species in the magazine.zoo.

This bright green frog was discovered in Costa Rica's Tapir Valley Nature Reserve, a former cattle ranch that was restored by Donald Valera Soto. Among the Baird's tapirs, peccaries, and jaguars that live there, this tiny frog, just 2 inches long, was found among the tall grasses of the reserve and was first noted for its high-pitched song that stood out among the vocalizations of other frogs. hilarious frogs

"It sounded very different from anything I had seen or heard on our reservation,"Soto says. "I heard this little frog, but it was almost impossible to find it, so well camouflaged."

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Nat Hab and WWF expedition leader show travelers how rainforest plants are excellent habitats for all species © Patrick Endres

exposed:In the north of Costa Rica

Fun fact:From Soto to Esteban Brenes-Mora, director of the Costa Rica Wildlife Foundation, to herpetologists Twan Leenders and Juan Gabriel Abarca, the discovery of tree frogs in the Tapir Valley is an excellent example of what can happen through an interdisciplinary approach. and knowledge shared among community members of the local community.

Nearest Nat Hab trip:Explorer in the Costa Rican desert

7. Jiangxi-reuzensalamander,Andrias jiangxiensis

Claim to fame:It exists outside of salamander farms.

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This Chinese giant salamander is a close relative of the newly discovered Jiangxi giant salamander (Andrias jiangxiensis), endemic to Jiangxi province, China. You can learn more about this specieshere!

The impressive Chinese giant salamander can reach almost 2 meters in length. If it wasn't so elusive and weird, you couldn't miss it! A 2018 study predicted that there would be at least five different species of Chinese giant salamanders. In 2019, the world's largest amphibian, the South China Giant Salamander, was identified. Last year, in May 2022, another species came onto the scene: the Jiangxi giant salamander.

Discovered in the province that gave it its name, the Jiangxi species differs from its cousins ​​in having a genetically pure wild population. Most of the country's wild giant salamanders have been released from salamander farms. Although the Jiangxi is present on two small farms, it also has a wild population in the Jiulingshan National Nature Reserve. It is considered a critically endangered species due to its limited distribution and the salamander's vulnerability to climate change.

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Nat Hab and WWF travelers have ample opportunities to see and interact with rare and endangered species in China © Brad Josephs

exposed:In the Chinese province of Jiangxi

Fun fact:The Chinese giant salamander is known as a "living fossil" and has been around for at least 165 million years.

Nearest Nat Hab trip:China wild panda tour

8. cigarette,Phlogis kibalensis

Claim to fame:Its characteristic metallic shine.

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The newly discovered cigarettePhlogis kibalensis© Dr. Alvin Helden, Universidade Anglia Ruskin

Back off primates, the sniper steals the show in Uganda's Kibale National Park. ok maybe notinshow, but this striking insect plays a solid supporting role.

The grasshopper belongs to the rare genusof Flogi,an individual species of which had not been observed for more than half a decade. The newly discovered grasshopper, found by an entomologist documenting insects in the national park for field guides, is now considered part of the order "true insects," or Hemiptera. (While there is still much to learn about its ecology, this is a new species that you cansee on a Nat Hab trip!)

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©Richard de Gouveia

exposed:No Kibale National Park, Uganda

Fun fact:Grasshoppers are related to crickets, but are smaller and more colourful.

Nearest Nat Hab trip:The Great African Primate Expedition(including Kibale National Park)

9. Vis,Scales of Poecilocharax from P. rhizophilus

Claim to fame:One of these little swimmers is less than an inch long when fully grown.

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P. calypterus© Willian Ohara

These little fish have been swimming under the radar long enough – enter the newly discovered red-orangePoecilocharaxand the miniature amber fish,P. rhizohilus.Unfortunately, once they were identified, it became clear that both fish are endangered. (EITHERPoecilocharax, in particular, has a restricted habitat of approximately 1.5 square miles).

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P. rhizophilus© Willian Ohara

The fish were discovered by Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History researcher Murilo Pastana and his colleagues in an area where humans are increasingly encroaching on the Amazon rainforest.

"It was exciting to find new species," Pastana said. “But in the field, we saw the forest on fire, log trucks carrying huge clearing trees turned into cattle pasture. Because of this, we feel a great urgency to document and publish these species.said paperZSM".

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Nat Hab and WWF travelers navigate the river and see jaguars and other aquatic creatures of the Amazon © Helder Brandão de Oliveira

exposed:In the Apuí region of Brazil, on the edge of the Amazon rainforest

Fun fact:These fish like dark water. EITHERPoecilocharaxIt is found in blackwater streams, named for the tannins that darken the water, whileP. rhizophilusPrefers cloudy water near tree roots.

Nearest Nat Hab trip:

More new and rediscovered species

Each new species discovered is a victory for the planet's biodiversity. The World Wide Fund for Nature reports an average 69% decline in wildlife populations since 1970, so let's take advantage of every new life we ​​can get our hands on.

They are places as biodiverse as theGreater Mekong Regionthat fill our nature-loving hearts with promises. In recent years, according to WWF, 224 species of plants and vertebrates have been discovered in the diverse landscapes of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

Furthermore, there are more and moreeradiscovered species. Read about the ambitiousEntrepreneurship "Re:wild: The search for lost species", which scientists around the world use to search for plants, animals, and fungi that have been lost to science for at least a decade (and sometimes many, many more).

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Nat Hab and WWF travelers photograph species large and small in the rainforests of southeast Borneo © Brad Josephs


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