Scientists from the International Institute for Species Exploration at SUNY just announced the top 10 species discovered during the past year.
A committee of taxonomists and experts from around the globe selected the winners from among the approximately 18,000 new species named during the past year. Scientists believe 10 million more species are yet to be discovered.
"One of the most inspiring facts about the top 10 species of 2014 is that not all of the 'big' species are already known or documented," said Dr. Antonio Valdecasas, a biologist and research zoologist with Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales in Madrid, Spain. "One species of mammal and one tree species confirm that the species waiting to be discovered are not only on the microscopic scale."
And so, without further ado, here are the winners:
1. The olinguito (above), a tree-dwelling carnivore found in Ecuador.
2. Kaweesak's dragon tree, aka Mother of Dragons, wields sword-shaped leaves with white edges and creamy flowers with bright orange filaments. The tree is found in the limestone mountains of Thailand's Loei and Lop Buri provinces.
3. The Andrill anemone was discovered by the Antarctic Geological Drilling Program (ANDRILL) team on the Ross Ice Shelf. This new species of sea anemone is the first of its kind found living in ice.
4. Divers found the translucent skeleton shrimp—the tiniest in its genus—in a cave on Santa Catalina in Southern California.
5. Orange Penicillium, called the "new fungus among us" by EurekAlert, was named for the His Royal Highness the Prince of Orange, Netherlands.
6. The leaf-tailed gecko (above) uses its wide tail to further camouflage itself on rocks in the Melville Range of eastern Australia.
7. Amoeboid protist, a carnivorous, single-cell organism from the Mediterranean Sea floor, was found feeding on invertebrates in caves where carnivorous sponges were first discovered.
8. Clean room microbes sound nice enough. Nope. This microbial species is found in rooms where spacecraft are assembled and could potentially contaminate other planets. They can tolerate extreme dryness, wide ranges of pH, and exposure to UV light and hydrogen peroxide.
9. Tinkerbella nana—yes, that's Latin for Tinkerbell fairfyfly—found in secondary growth forest in Costa Rica, has been dubbed the "fairyfly" for its place among the world's smallest known insects (0.00984 inches).
10. And the ghostly domed land snail (above). Pretty sweet, huh?