Scientists Uncover a Rainbow Fish, Chocolate Frog, Thai Tarantula, Anemone-Riding Crab
In a world where much of the biodiversity remains uncharted, scientists have recently named several fascinating new species. These discoveries include a resplendent rainbow fish, a frog that resembles chocolate, a Thai tarantula, an anemone that hitches a ride on the back of a hermit crab, and the world’s largest waterlily.
Experts estimate that only around 10% of all species on the planet have been described. Even within the well-known group of mammals, it is believed that we have only identified 80% of the species. Most of the undiscovered species likely belong to groups such as bats, rodents, shrews, moles, and hedgehogs.
Bryan Carstens, a professor at The Ohio State University, stated that based on their analysis, there may be hundreds of mammal species yet to be identified worldwide.
In 2022, researchers at the California Academy of Sciences named a total of 146 new species, encompassing a diverse range of organisms. Among the discoveries were 44 lizards, 30 ants, 14 sea slugs, 14 flowering plants, 13 sea stars, seven fishes, four beetles, four sharks, three moths, three worms, two scorpions, two spiders, two lichens, one toad, one clam, one aphid, and one sea biscuit.
Each year, approximately 2,000 new species of plants and fungi are documented, according to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. These findings offer potential sources of food, medicines, and other valuable solutions.
However, the unfortunate reality is that many newly discovered species are already assessed as Vulnerable or Critically Endangered, facing the threat of extinction.
Walter Jetz, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Yale University, expressed concerns over humans driving species to extinction without ever acknowledging their existence or considering their importance.
It is important to recognize that while a species may be new to science, it may already be familiar to local communities and possess a common name. Indigenous peoples often possess knowledge about these species long before they are “discovered” by Western science.
Alexandre Antonelli, director of science at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, highlights the fact that many new species known to science are already known and utilized by people in their regions of origin. These individuals, who have been the primary custodians of these species, often possess invaluable local knowledge.