Although hundreds of known species are endangered and disappear off the face of the Earth each year, it seems as though nature finds its way to adapt to the various man made conditions and destruction to still sustain others. Even more, scientists, in their tireless quest for the knowledge, announce to the world that new species are discovered annually, species that no one has classified, described or even seen before. From the amazing Amazon forests and heights of the Himalayan peaks to the most beautiful meadows and the darkness of the narrowest caves, we bring you the top 5 new species discovered.
1. The Night-Blooming Orchid
The Bulbophyllum nocturnum is probably the most amazing orchid known today because of its unusual night-blooming cycle. Out of more than 25,000 species of orchids classified until today by botanists, this is the first orchid that flowers only at night. This orchid was discovered by a Dutch scientist while conducting his research in New Britain, somewhere near Papua New Guinea. When brought back to the research labs in the Netherlands everyone was taken aback by an unexpected thing: while the flower buds 2cm long seemed to wither during the day, just a few hours after dusk they opened up in all their splendour and closed back a few hours before dawn. Today, it is still a mystery why the Bulbophyllum nocturnum, which belongs to the largest group in the orchid family, only flowers at night, especially because of the pollinating aspect. Scientists speculate that nocturnal flies carry out this task.
2. Nepalese Autumn Poppy
Amongst the high mountains of Nepal, at an altitude of about 14000 feet, a group of botanists who were collecting plants “miles from human habitation”, risking their own lives during the heavy monsoon rains, discovered a stunningly beautiful Himalayan flower. Later on they named it Meconopsis autumnalisbecause this Nepalese Poppy blooms only during autumn.The surprising fact about this new species is that although it was collected from the Himalayan slopes on two other occasions – in 1962 by the plant hunter Adam Stainton and in 1994 by staff of the University of Tokyo – at that time it was not recognized as being new.
3. Wandering Leg Sausage
Crurifarcimen vagans is the genus name of a newly discovered African millipede and as it turns out, it translates in the more common name we know it by today – the Wandering Leg Sausage – which also describes it perfectly. Imagine a sausage-like shape with 56 fat podous rings, each with two pairs of legs. Crurifarcimen vaganswas found in Tanzania’s Eastern Arc Mountains and it is currently known to live in eastern and western Usambara Mountain forests at altitudes of 940 to 1800 meters. It has also been declared the largest millipede, measuring about 1.5 cm in diameter and growing up to 15 cm in length.
Also Read: Top 5 Science Discoveries
4. Sazima’s Tarantula
Although Pterinopelma sazimai has been discovered decades ago, during the 1970’s, by an intrepid Brazilian zoologist who first collected exemplars of this species, our top 5 includes it because today it is still one of the most beautiful tarantulas ever found and above all, because we can no longer find it in its natural habitat: the high tabletop Brazilian mountains. Commonly known as Sazima’s Tarantula – named in honour of Doctor Ivan Sazima – the Pterinopelma sazimai can be seen today only in national parks due to loss of habitat and over-collecting for the pet trade.
5. Walking Cactus
Diania cactiformis is the name that has been given to the fossilized animals found in the now famous Chengjjiang deposit in south-west China. This organism is about 520 million years old and it is thought to be the ancestor of arthropods, which is the most diverse group of animals on the planet. Diania received the nickname of the “walking cactus” because of its shape: a worm-like body to which spiny jointed legs are attached. Scientists also discovered that the Diania genus grew about 6 centimetres long and had ten pairs of robust legs. All the facts suggest that it belongs to an extinct group of animals known as Lobopoda.