10 species discovered in 2015

An international commission of taxonomists has selected the top 10 species discovered in 2015 from about 18,000 new species named during the previous year.

The list was released to coincide (roughly) with the birthday of Carolus Linnaeus (May 23), considered the father of modern taxonomy. His work, developed in the mid-18th century, was the starting point for the "modern" naming and classification of plants and animals.

10. Feathered Dinosaur (Anzu wyliei)

A mix of bird and dinosaur, Anzu wyliei belongs to the group that lived in North America. A contemporary of the famous T. Rex and the Triceratops, this species nested and sat on eggs until they hatched. Among its birdlike features were things like feathers, hollow bones, and a short muzzle with a parrot's beak. These omnivores seem to have lived in lowlands eating vegetation, small animals and possibly eggs as well. Three well-preserved partial skeletons have been discovered in the United States. Looking like a giant chicken, this new dinosaur has been dubbed the “hell chicken” - a 1.5 meter tall chicken weighing around 300 kg.

9. Coral Flora (Balanophora coralliformis)

This parasitic plant has incredible branching and rough texture in its above ground tubers. These tubers give this parasite a coral appearance. Parasitic plants do not contain chlorophyll and are unable to do photosynthesis, so they have to take their nutrition from other living plants. This species is so far known from less than 50 plants, all found between 1,465 m and 1,735 m high on the southwest slope of Mingan Mountain in mossy forest areas. Because so few plants are known in such hostile areas, scientists believe the species is in serious danger of extinction.

8. The gymnast spider (Cebrennus rechenbergi)

This agile desert arachnid uses a gymnast trick to escape threatening situations: he gives charming somersaults. When danger approaches, the spider takes a threatening stance first, trying to push it away. If danger persists, the spider runs and then gives an Olympic gymnastics show. And the terrain is not a challenge: the spider can rotate in flat spaces as well as up and down hills.

7. The X-Phyla (Enigmatica dendrogramma)

This is a kind of multicellular animal that looks a bit like mushrooms, with a mouth at one end, and the other end shaped like a flat disk.

6. Deuteragenesis ossarium

This insect, up to about 15 millimeters, has a unique way of protecting its offspring. It builds multi-cell nests, each separated by a micro barrier. Then it kills spiders and places one in each cell to provide food for the development of their young. Once her egg is laid, it fills the nest with up to 13 dead spider bodies, thus creating a chemical barrier to the nest. This is the first animal known to take this approach to ensure nest survival. The species, found in eastern China, has significantly lower parasitism rates than other similar wasps.

5. Indonesian Toad (Limnonectes larvaepartus)

Every rule has an exception. Unlike other frogs, the Limnonectes larvaepartusfrom Indonesia's Sulawesi Island gives birth to tadpoles that are deposited in water pools. On one occasion even a female gave birth to a tadpole in the hand of a scientist the moment she was captured. Less than a dozen of the world's 6,455 frog species have internal fertilization. This species is about 40 mm and is found on the northern peninsula of the island on the western edge of the Central Core. The region has not been fully explored to learn more about these animals, so the range of this species is not yet known. Frogs live in natural and degraded forest habitats, often in areas occupied by other species of the same genus. They are found in grassy vegetation or rocky substrates.

4. Walking stick (Phryganistria tamdaoensis)

Although not the longest in the world, this insect belongs to a family known as "giant dicks". You can hardly talk like that, but here among us: it is impressive. O Phryganistria tamdaeoensis has given convincing evidence that, despite their size, the discovery of these giant masking camouflage sticks is still far from over.

3. Sea slug (Phyllodesmium acanthorhinum)

For this sea slug, the Top 10 competition was more than a beauty contest. It represents a “missing link” between hydra-eating sea slugs and coral slugs. This new species also contributed to a better understanding of the origin of an unusual symbiosis in other species of the genus.

2. Bromelia (Religious Tillandsia)

Religious Tillandsia they can be found growing up to 1.5 m high in rocky habitats in northern Morelos, Mexico.

1. New puffer fish (Torquigener albomaculosus)

This new fish was found deep in the ocean off the coast of Amami-Oshima Island, and was so strange and inexplicable that it left everyone with their mouths open.

These animals live within minutely dug circles, and are actually a new species of puffer fish called Torquigener albomaculosus. Males make circles like spawning nests and squirm in the deep-sea sand. Nests, used only once, are made to attract females. They have double edges and depressions that radiate in curious geometry. Scientists have also found that the ridges and grooves in these circles serve to minimize the ocean current in the center of the nest.

This protects eggs from turbulent waters and possibly from predators as well. Yoji Okata, an underwater photographer, was the first to observe this artistic behavior. Subsequently, a television crew conducted an expedition to record the phenomenon.