Top Ranked new species by zankrank (View Consensus)
1. attenborough's pitcher
it is a charismatic plant species and produces one of the largest pitchers known at 30x16 cm, comparable in size to an american football. it is also carnivorous, feeding on insects trapped by the fluid contained in the pitchers. endemic to the island of palawan, philippines, it is known only from a single locality and the authors suggest it be red listed as critically endangered.
2. bombardier worm
his deep-sea annelid is a “bomb”-bearing species. it has modified gills that can be cast off from an individual. these 'bombs' illuminate for several seconds with green bioluminescence. it is thought that this is a defensive mechanism rather than reproductive, as it is seen in both mature and juvenile individuals.
3. udderly weird yam
dioscorea orangeana is a new species of edible yam found in madagascar. its tuber morphology is uncharacteristic of malagasy yams exhibiting several digitate lobes instead of just one. although newly described, the authors suggest that it should be red listed as critically endangered, since it's heavily harvested and growing in unprotected habitat.
4. bug-eating slug
its discovery has resulted in a new family, aitengidae. although it shares nearly all characteristics with sacoglossans, it exhibits unusual eating habits. this sea slug eats insects, whereas nearly all sacoglossans eat algae and a few specialize in gastropod eggs.
5. far-out frogfish
it has an unusual psychedelic pattern and is unique among frogfishes in being flat-faced.
6. uber orb-weaver
it is the first species of nephila to be described since 1879 and it is the largest nephila to date. orb-weaving spiders exhibit extreme sexual size dimorphism: female paratype of this species has a body length of 39.7mm and a male has a body length of 8.7mm. nephila has the distinction of spinning the largest webs known, often greater than 1m in diameter. although the web of this new species has not been observed, it is likely to be large.
7. small favor
this two inch mushroom was named in honor of dr. robert drewes and was the subject of the june 20, 2009 segment, 'bluff the listener,' on the npr quiz show, 'wait, wait don't tell me.' click here to listen to the segment.
8. fanged fish
males of this species have canine-like fangs for sparring with other males. this is the first record of oral teeth-like structures being found in the cyprinidae, the largest family of freshwater fishes.
9. short-circuited electric fish
this species has been locally exploited and used for several decades, 'as a model species for understanding electric organ physiology and electrocommunication' (richer-de-forges et al. 2009). neurophysiologists at the instituto de investigaciones biológicas clemente estable in montevideo, uruguay have mistakenly referred to this species in literature as gymnotus carapo or g. cf. carapo. this and other species (until recently) have been lumped into g. carapo. this highlights how little we know about biodiversity when, 'a model organism' can remain undescribed for 30 years.
10. killer sponge
the person who nominated this species stated, 'fifteen years ago, the discovery that a deep-sea sponge family, the cladorhizidae, was carnivorous greatly surprised the world of zoology. carnivorous sponges in fact display very high diversity in the deep ocean, especially in the pacific where most of the collected specimens appear as undescribed taxa. among these, chondrocladia turbiformis displays a special type of spicule for which the new term “trochirhabd” has been coined. similar spicules were known from fossil strata of the early jurassic, suggesting that carnivorous sponges were already present in the mesozoic. the name turbiformis derives from the spindle or whirl-shaped form of the characteristic trochirhabds (latin, turbo, spinning top, disc).'
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