140 New Species Were Found in 2011

During the year 2011, more than 140 new species have been discovered, California Academy of Science reports. The new discoveries include 72 arthropods, 31 sea slugs, 13 fishes, 11 plants, nine sponges, three corals, and one reptile. New species were found on six continents of the world (except Antarctica) and three oceans (Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian). To obtain and study the new species, scientists were traveling all over the world, climbing high mountains and descending to the sea bottom. The results were published in 33 scientific papers. New found species will allow scientists to find answers to the main two questions: “How did life evolve?” and “How will it persist?” Below we present the most remarkable species found among the other 140 in 2011.

Four New Sharks
David Ebert, the research associate at the California Academy of Science, and his colleagues have discovered 4 new species of sharks.

  • African dwarf sawshark (Pristiophorus nancyae) – collected at the depth of 1,600 feet, near the coast of Mozambique.
  • Etmopterus joungi lanternshark – found in the fish market in Taiwan.
  • Etmopterus sculptus lanternshark – found in the depths of 1,500 – 3,000 feet near the coast of southern Africa.
  • Angel shark (Squatina caillieti) – found at the depth of 1,200 feet near the Philippine island of Luzon.

Arthropods

Arthropods are the most frequently discovered species in the world. Over half of the new species discovered in 2011 are arthropods. The varieties of arthropods are so large that it is not of a great difficulty to find new species of arthropods around. 43 ants, 20 goblin spiders, six barnacles, and three beetles were on the list of new found species last year. Additionally, academy has described three new genera of goblin spiders from Africa (Malagiella, Dalmasula, Molotra) and three new genera of barnacles (Minyaspis, Pycnaspis, and the fossil Archoxynaspis).

Gorgeous Sea Slugs

31 new species of nudibranch were discovered and described, from places as close as Florida to faraway countries like Papua New Guinea. More than 3000 nudibranch species are already known to us, and according to scientists there are another 3000 species that should be still discovered.

Tortoises

Alan Leviton, the academy curator emeritus, and his colleagues have solved identity crisis of the desert tortoise Gopherus agassizii. They have found out that the Gopherus agassizii tortoises were first described in 1861, not 1863 as had long been thought. The scientists also confirm that the first specimen of this turtle was lost 1906, during the earthquake and fire at the academy. And finally, using the DNA analysis of the tortoises, scientists supposed that G. agassizii is not one, but at least two distinct species—one that lives to the northwest of the Colorado River in California and Nevada (G. agassizii), and one that lives to the southeast of the river in Arizona and Mexico (named Gopherus morafkai). This discovery was very important implications for conservation of the tortoises by clarifying the geographical range of the species.
source: www.earthsky.org