This Iranian spider species was found in 2020, surprising everyone who saw it. This is a version of the Velvet Spider species, which are fascinating spiders just so you are aware. When the female Velvet Spider becomes a mother, she will actually birth a brood and liquify her own internal organs then upchuck them as food for her young. Once she gives literally everything inside of her up, the brood will then sense this and consume the mother entirely. In the case of this species, it was named after Joaquin Phoenix because its color pattern looks very similar to The Joker of DC Comics fame. Who Phoenix played in a recent film about the character.
The Heterometrus yaleensis was named after the Yala National Park, the most visited and second-largest national park in the nation of Sri Lanka. It also happens to be where this scorpion species was discovered. The team behind this discovery managed to discover six new scorpion species since starting their survey in 2015. They began their studies of the national park scorpions after a series of deaths caused by the Indian Red Scorpion, an invasive species in the area. It is very likely that interbreeding could occur to result in future new species here too.
This lungless salamander is native to North Carolina in the United States, only being found in the Sandhills region. They are known for their amazing coloration, as well as their size, the latter of which helps scientists differentiate the northern and southern versions. While this species was technically found in 1969, it was initially assumed to be just an unusual southern two-lined salamander. Yet it differed from others, but research simply hit a wall due to the lack of proper tech. Finally, updated DNA sequencing allowed the species to be fully described and examined the Carolina Sandhills Salamander to find it was indeed a new animal species.
A group of researchers set out to the Andean Cloud Forests within the Amazon Rainforest of Brazil in 2019 and 2020. They ended up finding 15 new wasp species there, all part of the Acrotaphus species line, all parasitic. In fact, the females use venom to paralyze a spider in its web to then put an egg inside of it. When hosting this egg, spiders no longer weave normal webs but rather build a web to protect this developing wasp. Once it hatches, the larvae eat the spider host and will live in the web until ready to come out.
Native to the Gulf of Mexico, Rice’s Whale is a species of baleen whale. It seemed to be nearly exact to the Bryde’s whale, but genetic testing in 2021 proved it was its own distinct species. The only way to tell the difference between the two in appearance is that Rice’s whale by the appearance of its nasal bones. They have wider gaps wrapped by frontal bones. It also has a unique vocal sound with its calls. This species can grow a little bigger than 41 feet in length and weigh up to 27 metric tons. Sadly, the species is currently on the brink of extinction, with only 33 known and only 16 mature individuals.
Australian researchers have known about the Bleating Tree Frog for a long time. It is well known to Aussies due to its incredibly loud calls, the loudest of any Australian frog known. It is often painful to listen to, being so loud and high-pitched. Originally, it was thought that the species was widespread across the continent/country from Queensland to Victoria. However, researchers in 2021 found that these frogs all over the place were not just part of one species, but three! While they look a lot alike, they are genetically different. Making them one of the newest animal species to Australia’s massive unique animal list.
In late 2021, a new animal species from the Star Octopus line was announced. For roughly 150 years, the common octopus found on Western Australian shores was not thought to be much different than the “gloomy” octopus. You’ve likely seen this octopus across the Eastern U.S. and even in New Zealand waters. But seven years of research managed to find that the two differ. Known as the Octopus djinda, it finally has its own name like it always should. Of course, it gets its name from the Noongar language. The “djinda” name means “bright” or “star” in English, resulting in the Star Octopus name.
This has to be one of the weirdest-looking animals we’ve ever seen. We’re actually kind of shocked it had not been discovered until so recently. In the Nimba Mountains of Guinea, there is a mountain range that connects Guinea, Liberia, and Côte d’Ivoire to form the “sky islands.” It is a major place for biodiversity, especially when it comes to bats. The Bat Conservation International, Cameroon’s University of Maroua, and the American Museum of Natural History teamed up to find a brand new bright orange bat they ended up naming Myotis nimbaensis. We’re a little shook by this one, people.
The Huallaga Valley in Peru was filled with amazing animal species, including many lizards. Sadly, it has been affected by war and forest destruction which drastically altered the environment and led to the departure of many species. Bu the late 1990s, Peru decided to liberate the area in hopes it could help. It seems that worked out, as a new lizard species known as Enyalioides feiruzae was found. Researchers spent seven years conducting field surveys of the area to properly describe it. The species is known for its amazing, almost rainbow-like colors. With males and females differing in their color patterns.
In the Monsoon Forests of China and northern Myanmar, there lives one of the newest animal species to the krait line of snakes. Chinese scientists managed to use genetic testing to determine that the Bungarus suzhenae, or Suzhen’s Krait, was a new species. It is named after the Bai Su Zhen snake goddess from the Chinese myth, the Legend of the White Snake. This is known to be a very dangerous, venomous snake. Thus, studying it proved to be quite a challenge for the team.
Normally when a species is named after a person, scientists use the “I” for males and the “AE” for females. Yet scientists broke from this trend when it came to the naming of the Strumigenys ayersthey ant. They decided to go with the inclusive “they” pronoun to promote nonbinary gender inclusivity. It is also named after the late human rights activist, Jeremy Ayers. This ant species is known of ant is known for snapping its jaws shut faster than most other creatures at 1.2 million mps2.
This frog is straight out of a horror movie. It was discovered when German Herpetologist Raffael Ernst heard a frog call from under the ground in the Amazon Rainforest. Rain was pouring down, it was muddy out, but he wanted to know where the call was coming from. He then managed to find what has now been referred to as the Zombie Frog. While orange and about 1.5 inches, it is not named due to being one of the “walking dead.” Rather, Ernst named it this because researchers often look like zombies when they dig out frogs from the ground.
Some of the newest animal species have already been discovered in 2022 thus far as of this writing. One is known as the Rose-veiled fairy wrasse. It is quite a “cutesy” sounding name for an animal species. However, one could likely come to the conclusion based on how it looks that the name works just fine. University of Sydney Doctoral Student, Yi-Kai Tea claims that this was thought to be a widespread species of fish before now. Yet it was just recently found that it differed enough to be genetically different. Tea stated that this is one of the reasons properly describing taxonomy in general for new species is important.
One version of the blanket octopus species was assumed to exist for twenty years now but is rare for people to see. That was until it was found by biologist Jacintha Shackelton on Lady Elliot Island in Australia in a rare sighting. At first, Shackleton assumed it was a juvenile fish with long fins but as they began to get closer it was confirmed to be a blanket octopus. Now proving this version of the species existed. The species’ name comes from the blankets that can be folded under the octopus’ arms to allow them to escape faster.
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