The top 10 new species discovered in 2013 include a see-through crustacean, upside-down Antarctic flowers and a tree nicknamed "Mother of Dragons".
This tiny shrimp,
discovered in a cave on Santa Catalina off the coast of Southern California, is
the smallest in its genus: the male measures just 3.3mm in length
(0.125 inches), and the female just 2.1mm (less than 0.1 inches). It's also the
first of its genus to be found in the northeastern Pacific, and its teensy body
is translucent, giving it a ghostly appearance.
Photo by: SINC (Servicio de Informacion y Noticias CientÌficas) and J.M. Guerra-García / Caption by:
Kaweesak's Dragon Tree
Nicknamed "The Mother
of Dragons" by the IISE, Kaweesak's Dragon Tree was named after a friend and
member of the international team who found it in Thailand, Kaweesak Keeratikiat.
Native to Burma and Thailand, the tree is a relation of the Canary Island
dragon tree, Dracaena draco. It
has long, sword-shaped leaves edged in white, and cream-coloured flowers with
orange filaments. It grows in the limestone mountains of Thailand, a resource
that is mined for the production of cement, and the tree has thus been
categorised as endangered.
These strange and dainty
anemone growing upside-down under the Antarctic ice were discovered by accident when the National Science Foundation conducted its first test
run of the SCINI robot. The robot, designed to monitor ocean currents, was sent
through a hole drilled in the Antarctic ice -- and sent back images of the
first known anemone species to live on the ice. How exactly they manage to
survive in such harsh conditions is still unknown. You can read more about the discovery here.
A clean room is a space
specifically designated for the purposes of manufacturing or scientific
research, meant to be as sterile as possible. Nevertheless, this microbe
managed to survive the sterilisation process: it was found in two separate clean
rooms over 4,025km (2,500 miles) apart -- one in Florida and one in French
Photo by: Leibniz-Institute DSMZ and Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology / Caption by:
tree-dwelling omnivore is the first new carnivorous mammal found in the Western
Hemisphere in 35 years. Belonging to the Procyonidae family -- which includes
raccoons -- it lives in the Andean forests of Colombia and Ecuador, surviving
on a diet of fruit, insects and nectar, and rarely -- if ever -- descending
from the trees. It's also the smallest species of its genus, coming in at an
average weight of just 900g (2 pounds).
Although it has spores of a
bright orange colour (see inset), this species of penicillium, the fungus from
which penicillin is derived, was actually named to honour Dutch royalty, His
Royal Highness the Prince of Orange. It was discovered in soil excavated in
This single-celled organism
measures a whopping 4cm to 5cm (1.5 inches to 2 inches) in height, a massive size for its kind. It is a kind
of foraminifera, which is a category of amoeboid that builds a protective shell
from found items, and it dwells beneath the Mediterranean Sea. It was initially
thought to be a sponge for its peculiar behaviour: it collects skeletal fragments
of dead sponge from the seabed and glues them to itself with a sort of protein
glue similar to that used by sponges. It also feeds like a sponge, extending
arms to collect and feed on tiny invertebrates that have become trapped in the
This pretty gecko,
discovered in and unique to Australia's Melville Range on Cape Melville, is
distinctive for its mottled camouflage colouring, slender body, longer limbs
and large eyes. It lives in rocky habitats and trees in rainforests, and
measures about 20cm (7.8 inches) in length. It's believed to be a relic species from a time
when rainforests were more common in Australia.
It doesn't look a lot like
the popular character from Peter Pan,
and it's not even really a fly: the The fairyfly family that derives its name
from its delicately fringed wings, is actually a family of parasitoid wasps.
The Tinkerbell Fairyfly is one of the 1,400-member strong family's smallest
members, measuring just 250 micrometers in length, and dwells in the forests of
Costa Rica. Although its host is unknown, it presumably lives no longer than
just a few days.
This teeny tiny snail may
look like the glass shells you can buy for your pet hermit crab, but it's
actually a land-dweller, living deep in the Lukina Jama-Trojama caves of
Croatia some 900 metres (nearly 3000 feet) beneath the Earth's surface -- in
complete darkness. It's only 2mm in length, and only one living specimen was
found, in a large cavern with a small stream of running water nearby; however,
many shells of dead snails were also found in the area. Researchers guess that
these tiny animals, which move very slowly on land -- perhaps only as much as a
few centimetres a week -- travel in water or on other cave-dwelling animals for