35 remarkable new animal and insect species that will freak you out (pictures)
The Epimeria loerzae is one of 28 new species of crustaceans discovered in the Antarctica, per a 2017 report. Like the pictured specimen, many of the new species are colorful -- and spiky.
Look closely. There are two insects in this picture, one on top of another. The red legs and red body belong to that of an ant; the darker upper body belongs to that of the Nymphister kronaueri, a new beetle species discovered in a Costa Rican rainforest, and reported on in 2017. The beetles score piggyback rides by clamping onto ants via their mandibles.
That's not a bird
Madagascar's pelican spiders feature the "illusion of a 'neck' and 'beak,'" as Smithsonian.com puts it. The Eriauchenius milajaneae, one of 18 new pelican spider species identified by researchers who published their findings in 2018, may be the most pelican-y of all.
Meet the Robinmoore's Night Frog, one of seven new night-frog species discovered in an Indian mountain range, and unveiled by a University of Delhi researcher in 2017.
A venomous snake you can feel sorry for
As a rule, venomous bandy-bandy snakes are burrowers. But this new species, Vermicella parscauda, discovered by University of Queensland-led biologists in Australia, was found hanging out on a concrete block, the university reported in 2018. It's described as in danger of extinction due to local mining.
These fish belong to a species so new they don't yet have proper names; they're merely known as the blue Atacama Snailfish. The species was discovered by scientists trolling the depths of the Pacific's Atacama Trench.
So. Much. Color.
Called "one of the most beautiful fishes I've ever seen" by a California Academy of Sciences researcher, this new, Day-Glo-colored fish was named Tosanoides aphrodite after the Greek goddess of beauty. It was found off the coast of Brazil, per the 2018 announcement.
A see-through Kermit
Uncharted territory may be dwindling on our planet, but biologists discover hundreds of new species every year. Here are our recent favorites...including a wasp that will absolutely terrify you.
This new species of glass frog, dubbed Hyalinobatrachium dianae, was recently found by researchers at the Costa Rican Amphibian Research Center. Looks cute, right? Well, flip it over. It's completely see-through under there. You can see its organs and blood vessels and everything.
So cute it's scary
The 7-inch-long flapjack octopus has been on researchers' radar since 1990, but many details about how it lives are still a mystery, and it has yet to be officially named. This little guy was photographed by aquarists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute at about 1,080 feet below the ocean's surface.
Small shrimp, huge "appendage"
This newly discovered Leucothoe eltoni shrimp is named after Sir Elton John.
"I have listened to his music in my lab during my entire scientific career," James Darwin Thomas, a professor at Nova Southeastern University, said in a statement released by publisher Pensoft. "So, when this unusual crustacean with a greatly enlarged appendage appeared under my microscope after a day of collecting, an image of the shoes Elton John wore as the Pinball Wizard came to mind."
Hair down there
This white-cheeked macaque was discovered in April 2015 by researchers at Dali University's Institute of Eastern-Himalaya Biodiversity Research. The feature that gave it away: a distinctive-looking penis and unusually hairy scrotum.
The beast may be new to science, but according to researchers, it's already threatened by illegal hunting in Tibet.
Meet the new Sichuan bush warbler. Discovered in part by Pamela Rasmussen, an integrative biologist at Michigan State University, the bird has a shy disposition and a distinctive song.
This ghostly, shrimp-like creature was discovered by a team from the University of Seville in Spain in 2013. The new species, which are actually members of another crustacean group called amphipods, live in caves off the coast of Catalina Island, near Los Angeles.
The enigma moth, announced just this year by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Australia, has been described as a "living dinosaur," part of a group of moths with ancient roots. Their adult lives are lived in a single day, in which they emerge from their cocoons, mate, reproduce and die.
Meet Limnonectes larvaepartus. Discovered in late 2014 by scientists at the University of California at Berkeley, the frog has fangs, sort of -- two projections on its lower jaw that are used for fighting. But it gets better. This species also gives birth to live tadpoles, which may be guarded early in life by protective frog fathers.
Fanged frogs give live birth
Here's a closeup of the newly unveiled Limnonectes larvaepartus tadpole, a rare example of live young borne of a frog species.
Announced just last month, this vibrant ruby seadragon proves that "we definitely have many more exciting discoveries awaiting us in the oceans," according to co-discoverer Nerida Wilson of the Western Australia Museum.
Here's a newly discovered species of ghost shark, the Chimaera carophila, from New Zealand. The California Academy of Sciences introduced it to the world in December last year.
That's no stick, but rather a very, very large new species of stick bug, discovered in late 2014 in Vietnam. It's more than a foot long, making it the second-biggest living insect ever found.
All hail the hero ant from Madagascar, discovered last year. When it senses an invading insect, it grabs the intruder and hurls itself off the ant equivalent of a cliff. Once the unwelcome guest is away from the colony entrance, the ant picks itself up and gets back to work.
Sure, this bone-house wasp, unveiled in July last year by scientists at the University of Freiburg in Germany, looks like any other stinger. But it's way meaner: it uses ant corpses to build its home, and lays its eggs inside living spiders. Pleasant dreams!
I'm hoppin' here
Yep, this newly categorized leopard frog, announced in October last year by a graduate student at Rutgers University, is 100 percent New Yorker: it was discovered near the Statue of Liberty. It also has a loud, guttural call.
This nudibranch is a new slug species called the Phyllodesmium undulatum. Unveiled in 2014 by the California Academy of Sciences, it's essentially a poison-eating sea slug that glows.
That tiny dot at the bottom of the web is a newly categorized ray spider, discovered in 2014 by an arachnologist at the California Academy of Sciences. "Ray spiders aren't filter feeders," the Academy's Charles Griswold said. "They tend to stretch their sticky webs into a cone-like shape and hold on tightly while they wait for unsuspecting prey. Once spotted, they shake or let their webs fly out to catch a meal."
This relatively tiny species of Namibian elephant shrew, Macroscelides micus, debuted last year as well. Only about a dozen new mammal species are discovered yearly.
Yes, this Pylorobranchus hearstorum worm eel, which officially debuted in 2014, is the largest of its kind, about 50 inches long from head to tail, making it about twice as long as other known worm eels. But if that isn't mind-blowing enough, consider: the worm eel is actually neither worm nor eel. It's a fish.
The vast majority of Telmatobius frogs, including the newly catalogued yellow Telmatobius ventriflavum, discovered by Alessandro Catenazzi, are considered threatened. The yellow variant was officially recognized as a new species in February.
Announced by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in April 2014, these shrub-like sponges trap small sea creatures and then digest them over several days.
Definitely not a teddy bear
Don't let its cuddly looks fool you: The raccoon-related, Ecuador-dwelling olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina) is a carnivorous mammal -- the first new carnivore species found in the Americas in 35 years, Smithsonian scientists announced in 2013.
Smooth frog operator
Poison dart frogs are known for being potentially deadly. At least the bright orange Andinobates geminisae is small: about the size of a fingernail. Uncovered in Panama, it was revealed to the research world in 2014.
This new species of wood lizard was discovered in Peru's Cordillera Azul National Park, per a research paper published by ZooKeys in 2015. Females are largely brownish, while males, such as the one pictured, are greenish.
The photogenic Tenasserim Mountain bent-toed gecko is one of two new gecko species found in a deforested part of Myanmar, per a 2017 paper authored by a Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute fellow and other scientists.
On the rocks
The Lenya banded bent-toed gecko is the other new gecko species found in the Myanmar study. Like the bent-toed gecko, it's considered endangered by the very deforestation that revealed the species.
This newly identified sea slug, the Hypselodoris iba, hails from the coral reefs of Indonesia. The species is found in both purple, and in white with orange spots. "Sea slugs have an arsenal of strategies for surviving, from mimicry to camouflage to cryptic patterns," zoologist Terry Gosliner said in an October 2018 announcement.