The top 10 new species for 2014 have been selected by scientists from approximately 18,000 new species named during the previous year.
According to the researchers of SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry's (ESF) International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE), the list includes a quartet of tiny newcomers to science: a miniscule skeleton shrimp from Santa Catalina Island in California, a single-celled protist that does a credible imitation of a sponge, a clean room microbe that could be a hazard during space travel and a teensy fringed fairyfly named Tinkerbell.
The list also features a gecko that fades into the background in its native Australia and a fungus that, conversely, blazed its way into contention by virtue of the bright orange color it displays when it's produced in colonies.
Dr. Quentin Wheeler, founding director of the IISE and ESF president, said that the majority of people are unaware of the dimensions of the biodiversity crisis and the top 10 are designed to bring attention to the unsung heroes addressing the biodiversity crisis by working to complete an inventory of earth's plants, animals and microbes.
The top 10 new species are:
Olinguito: A New Carnivore, Hidden in Trees
Kaweesak's Dragon Tree: Mother of Dragons
ANDRILL Anemone: Discovery on Ice
Skeleton Shrimp: A See-through Crustacean
Location: California, U.S.A.
Orange Penicillium: A New Fungus among Us
Leaf-tailed Gecko: Look Hard to See This One
Amoeboid Protist: Body Builder from the Mediterranean
Location: Mediterranean Sea
Clean Room Microbes: Alien Invaders?
Location: Florida, U.S.A., and French Guiana
Tinkerbell Fairyfly: Do You Believe in Fairies?
Location: Costa Rica
Domed Land Snail: Looks Ghostly, Moves Slowly