8 Newly Discovered Species

Tosanoides aphrodite, a vibrant small spring green fish with purple and pink markings

LA Rocha / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 4.0

In all the time that humankind has been scientifically categorizing life, we've cataloged around 2 million of an estimated estimated 15 million species.

Most new species are small invertebrates that would be overlooked by anyone other than a scientist. Every now and then, however, we stumble across a new monkey, a large lizard, or some other incredible animal that we've never seen before. Here are eight amazing, newly discovered species.

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Gorgon's Head Star

Gorgon sea star with central medallion and vine like arms that end in curling tendrils

NOAA / CBNMS / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The basket star Gorgoncephalos, or Gorgon's head star, was discovered in 2010 and is a brittle star and a cousin to true starfish. The name comes from the fact its arms split off its body like alien tentacles or snaking vines. Scientists from the University of Aberdeen discovered the gorgon head starfish while studying marine life along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It was caught a half-mile down, and its diet consists of plankton and shrimp.

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Attenborough's Pitcher Plant

Attenborough's pitcher plant A, upper pitcher; B, intermediate pitcher.

Alastair S. Robinson / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0 

Attenborough's pitcher plant (Nepenthes attenboroughii) was first described scientifically in 2009. It is a large, critically endangered plant endemic to Palawan in the Philippines. Unfortunately, poachers taking them for the curiosity and monetary value endangers these plants. They are large and have attractive pitchers.

The football-sized pitcher at the plant's base traps and digests insects and even rats. The plant's name honors famous naturalist Sir David Attenborough.

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Chan's Megastick

Chan's megastick female bug that looks like a large twig

P.E. Bragg / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 

The Chan's megastick (Phobaeticus chani) stick insect is on record as the world's longest insect, with one discovered measuring 22.3 inches long. These stick bugs live in the rainforest canopy of Borneo. Scientists have only collected six specimens because of the difficulty of studying them in their natural habitat. Chan's megastick has a unique egg shape with wing-like structures, which allow it to float to the ground as its laid.

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Etendeka Round-Eared Sengi

Namibian elephant shrew, a small mouse like creature with a long slender snout shaped like an elephant trunk and long tail

Rathbun GB, Dumbacher JP / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

The Etendeka round-eared sengi (Macroscelides micus) was discovered in 2014 in Namibia. Sengi or elephant shrews are small African mammals that at first appear to have mouse or shrew relatives. Instead, the Etendeka round-eared sengi is more closely related to aardvarks and elephants.

This is the smallest of any known species of sengi, at around 7.5 inches from the tip of the nose to the tail's end, and it weighs about an ounce. The body makes up about half of the length of the sengi. The round-eared sengi lives in the red-stone Namib desert in the flat-topped mountain area that the locals call Etendeka. These nocturnal creatures sleep under the shelter of rocks during the day. They forage for insects and arthropods at night.

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Aphrodite Anthias

Tosanoides aphrodite, a vibrant small spring green fish with purple and pink markings

LA Rocha / Wikimedia Commons / CC 4.0

The vibrant Aphrodite anthias (Tosanoides aphrodite) was discovered in 2017. The female fish looks rather like a goldfish with reddish-orange coloration. The males and juveniles sport the bright yellow-green, purple, and pink coloration. They were found in the deep St. Paul's Rocks coral reefs off Brazil's coast, near the equator. They are the first Tosanoides species located outside of the Pacific Ocean.

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Yaku Glass Frog

Yaku glass frog top view and underside view, on left is a less than 1 inch long frog with green skin and yellow spots. On the right is a the view of the underside of the frog which is transparent and you can see the organs through the skin.

Guayasamin JM, Cisneros-Heredia DF, Maynard RJ, Lynch RL, Culebras J, Hamilton PS / Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY-SA 4.0

Yaku glass frogs (Hyalinobatrachium yaku) were discovered in 2017 by a team exploring Amazonian Ecuador. These frogs, which are merely 1 inch long, are unique in that their internal organs are visible when viewed from their underside. Most glass frogs only have a transparent abdomen. The one pictured has a transparent chest as well, allowing a view of the heart.

These frogs are also atypical when it comes to mating, as they call to the females from underneath leaves. The male glass frogs then take parental responsibility for the egg clutches.

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Pearl River Map Turtle

Pearl River Map turtle partially resting on underwater tree limb. Turtle has dark stripe down back and swirling blue markings on head.

Cris Hagen, University of Georgia, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

The discovery of the Pearl River map turtle (Graptemys pearlensis) in 2010 occurred when a U.S. Geological survey team realized that the Pearl River map turtle wasn't the same species as the Pascagoula map turtle. This endangered species lives in the Pearl River, which defines the border between Louisiana and Mississippi.

Researchers believe populations have declined by as much as 98 percent since 1950. The primary threats to the turtle is water pollution and clearing of the river channel for boat traffic. Collecting the turtle for the pet trade and using them for target practice further endangers the creature.

The Pearl River map turtle ranges in size from 6 to 11 inches and eats clams, fish, and insects.

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Young lesula monkeys with brownish grey fur on back, faces similar to humans with long noses

John Hart / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.5

In 2007, biologists saw the lesula (Cercopithecus lomamiensis) for the first time while on a research trip in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Rather than discovering it in the wild, however, they found it kept as a pet. It took until 2012 for genetic testing and further research to determine the lesula was a previously undocumented species.

These vulnerable monkeys have an estimated population of over 10,000. The main threats to the species are uncontrolled bushmeat hunting and habitat loss. Lesula are particularly susceptible to hunting and trapping because they spend most of their time on the ground.