A fish that looks like a pancake and a leech found inside someone’s nose are among taxonomists’ top ten new species for 2010.
Led by Mary Liz Jameson of Wichita State University, researchers from across the globe picked out their favourite species from those discovered last year for the list, produced by Arizona State University’s International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE).
Our office favourite is undoubtedly the Louisiana Pancake Batfish (Halieutichthys intermedius). Discovered in the oil-troubled Gulf of Mexico, the fish is described by the IISE as “flat like a pancake, spikey, hops on its fins and has huge bulging eyes.” It is, says a statement, “a remarkably hideous (in a good way) animal”.
The nose leech – or Tyrannobdella rex to give it its proper name – was found in Peru, “feeding from the nasal mucous membrane of a little girl”.
“We can only realistically aspire to sustainable biodiversity if we first learn what species exist to begin with,” says Quentin Wheeler, director of the IISE (press release).
“Our best guess is that all species discovered since 1758 represent less than 20 percent of the kinds of plants and animals inhabiting planet Earth. A reasonable estimate is that 10 million species remain to be described, named, and classified before the diversity and complexity of the biosphere is understood.”
Filling up the other eight spots are the spider behind the largest orb webs ever seen; a glowing mushroom; the bacteria that is eating the Titanic; a 2 metre long, fruit eating lizard; a flower-pollinating cricket; a duiker found in a bushmeat market; an underwater mushroom; and high-jumping cockroach (pictures below).
Check out the full list at the IISE.
Image montage: ASU press release. Batfish image: Prosanta Chakrabarty (Louisiana State University, USA)