221 new species described by the California Academy of Sciences in 2014

Written by: Lisa Stelzner

Primary Source: Daily Dose of Science Blog

It is quite amazing to consider that scientists may have only discovered 10% of the Earth’s species.  Of course, many of the unknown species are small (insects, microbes) or in remote or extreme environments (deserts, the deep sea), which provides some explanation for why we have not found or identified them yet. Luckily, certain research institutions such as the California Academy of Sciences still sends scientists out on research expeditions to search for, describe, and classify new species.  In fact, CalAcademy researchers described 221 new species last year!  These include:

  • 28 fishes
  • 24 sea slugs
  • 9 barnacles
  • 2 marine worms
  • 2 octocorals
  • 1 waterbear
  • 25 plants
  • 16 beetles
  • 3 spiders
  • 110 ants
  • 1 mammal

These new species were found in two oceans and on five continents.  The article gives further detail about the mammal (Etendeka round-eared sengi, a type of elephant-shrew), the hero-ant, the gigantic deepwater worm-eel, and a fossil megamouth shark.

http://www.calacademy.org/press/releases/221-new-species-described-by-the-california-academy-of-sciences-in-2014

Meanwhile, Popular Science shared photos of the coolest-looking new (or potentially new) species of 2014.  I can’t believe that jellyfish that looks like a muddy puddle.

http://www.popsci.com/coolest-looking-new-species-2014/?image=0

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Lisa Stelzner
I'm a plant biology PhD student studying monarch butterflies in Michigan, but I'm interested in lots of other types of science, too. I am interested in how breeding monarch butterflies choose their habitat based on floral species richness and abundance. Few studies have been conducted on optimal foraging theory when it involves an organism searching for two different kinds of resources, and butterflies are an ideal study system to investigate this, since many species are ovipositing specialists and only lay eggs on one species of hostplant, but are feeding generalists and nectar from a broad variety of flowering forbs.