A new species of octopus not yet described by scientists at Oeno atoll, one of the most southerly coral atolls in the world.
Photograph: Enric Sala/National Geographic
This strange-looking deep sea harp sponge is carnivorous!Typically, sponges feed by straining bacteria and bits of organic material from the seawater they filter through their bodies. However, carnivorous harp sponges snare their prey—tiny crustaceans—with barbed hooks that cover the sponge’s branching limbs. Once the harp sponge has its prey in its clutches, it envelops the animal in a thin membrane, and then slowly begins to digest it.
Photo: Courtesy of MBARI
The African Dwarf shark (Pristiophorus nancyae) - one of four new shark species found in 2011.
The African dwarf sawshark (Pristiophorus nancyae) was accidentally captured in a 1,600-foot-deep (490-meter-deep) trawl off Mozambique. The animal is only the seventh species of sawshark known to science, according to David Ebert, a research associate at the Academy.
The predator has a long, tooth-studded snout that it uses like a sword, whipping the appendage through schools of fish and then returning to eat any casualties.
Along with the sawshark, a new species of angel shark, Squatina caillieti, was named from a single specimen collected in 1,200-foot-deep (370-meter-deep) water off the Philippine island of Luzon, Ebert said.
Bottom-dwelling angel sharks, whose large pectoral fins resemble wings, lie partially buried in sediment and ambush passing prey.
In addition, two species of lanternshark in the Etmopterus genus were also discovered in Taiwan and South Africa, respectively.
The discoveries are part of a recent boom in new shark and ray finds. Over the past decade, about 200 new species have been described, compared with fewer than 200 in the previous three decades, Ebert said.
Despite these advances in describing new sharks, scientists know very little about the predators’ behaviors or their populations, he added.
New large horned viper discovered, but biologists keep location quiet.
In a remote forest fragment in Tanzania, scientists have made a remarkable discovery: a uniquely-colored horned viper extending over two feet long (643 millimeters) that evolved from its closest relative over two million years ago. Unfortunately, however, the new species—named Matilda’s horned viper (Atheris matildae)—survives in a small degraded habitat and is believed to be Critically Endangered. Given its scarcity, its discoverers are working to preempt an insidious threat to the new species.
Scientists love nothing more than finding unknown animals, but the public announcement has sometimes been the beginning of the species’ undoing, especially in the case of reptiles and amphibians. Hotly pursued by the black market pet trade, in the past new species have been helplessly decimated by collectors shortly after their scientific description is published. As such, Matilda’s horned viper’s discoverers are not only keeping the snake’s location a closely-guarded secret, but have already set up an emergency conservation program. They won’t let this species vanish without a fight.
Photo: Tim Davenport
Text: Jeremy Hance
You heard here first people, another new species of Yeti crab may be out there!
The new shark species, Squalus formosus, on display in a Taiwanese fish market. Photograph courtesy William White
John Roach for National Geographic News Published September 1, 2011
It’s unlikely anyone’s ever complained, “Waiter, there’s a new species in my soup.” But the situation isn’t as rare as you might think. A monkey, a lizard, and an “extinct” bird have all been discovered en route to the dinner plate, and now a new shark species joins their ranks, scientists report.
Top 10 New species in 2010
A cockroach that exhibits unusual morphology with legs that are highly modified for jumping. Named Saltoblattella montistabularis – Saltoblattella is the Latin translation of “jumping small cockroach” – this critter has jumping ability that is on par with grasshoppers. Prior to its discovery, jumping cockroaches were only known from the Late Jurassic. In addition to the leg modifications, it has hemispherical shaped eyes, rather than kidney shaped eyes, which protrude from the sides of the head, and its antennae have an additional fixation point to help stabilize it during jumping.
Top 10 New Species in 2010
A pancake batfish that lives in waters either partially or fully encompassed by the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Named Halieutichthys intermedius, this bottom-dwelling species seems to hop on its thick, arm-like fins as it moves awkwardly in the water, resembling a walking bat. John Sparks, curator of ichthyology at the American Museum of Natural History, one of the scientists who reported the discovery, said: “If we are still finding new species of fishes in the Gulf, imagine how much diversity, especially microdiversity, is out there that we do not know about.”
More of the pea-sized frog Microhyla nepenthicola
Not exactly a ‘new’ discovery, as specimens in museum collections date back over 100 years, but were always assumed to be juveniles of other species.
The new species was named after the pitcher plant, Nepenthes ampullaria, which it depends on to live. The frogs deposit their eggs on the sides of the pitcher, and tadpoles grow in the liquid that accumulates inside the plant.