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Top 10 New Species

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Top 10 New Species

The International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) at Arizona State University and a group of taxonomists from around the world have decided upon their chioces for the top 10 new species described in 2010. The motley crew includes a leech with giant teeth, a glowing mushroom, and a flat hopping fish, among other curious and amazing new species that we are lucky to share the globe with.

Here they are, in no particular order:

Darwin’s Bark Spider (Caerostris darwini)
This orb-weaving spider builds the largest orb webs known to man–large enough to span rivers, streams and lakes. It’s no surprise that the silk spun by these spiders is incredibly strong. In fact, it is “the toughest biological material ever studied, over ten times stronger than a similarly-sized piece of Kevlar” and more than two times stronger than any other known spider silk.  The unusual ways of this impressive arachnid will allow researchers to better study size dimorphism, mate guarding, and…self castration. (I’m not sure how that plays into biological imperative, but I’m sure they have a plan.)

Etymology: The species description was prepared on 24 November 2009, exactly the 150th anniversary of the publication of the first edition of Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species. The species is named in honor of Charles R. Darwin, 200 years after his birth.

(Image: Matjaž Kuntner)

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

110 comments

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7:08AM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

Amazing creatures here.!!

9:54PM PST on Nov 12, 2011

Leaping roaches? that's just great. they already run too fast but now they can jump too? I thought forrest roaches were scary because they fly. I guess all roaches are scary. ick

1:14AM PDT on Oct 1, 2011

interesting...some beautiful, some disturbing

9:40AM PDT on Jul 27, 2011

eternal light mushrooms is very interesting, pollinating crickets who would of thought. louisiana pancake batfish thats pritty awesome

2:42PM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

A Pancake Batfish suddenly appears!

You try "WTF?"

It's super ineffective.

You lose your sanity from finding something that's straight out of a Final Fantasy game in real life.

2:40PM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

Cockroach

Great. A jumping cockroach. That's just great...

I feel ill now.

2:38PM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

Leech.

"Hey Mom lookit this booger! It's moving" 0.0

2:35PM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

Glow mushroom! I must have some for yard! :D

2:34PM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

I'm guessing this thing catches, and eats birds...and anything smaller than a bird really.

2:00PM PDT on Jul 18, 2011

What a wonderful world... Thanks for sharing.

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