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Some of the most colourful animal, plant and insect discoveries of 2016

Every year, scientists discover thousands of new species. Researchers at the The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco have added 133 to the family tree this year.

Dozens of researchers and international collaborators described species that include one bee fly, 43 ants, 36 beetles, one sand wasp, four spiders, six plants, 23 fishes, one eel, one shark, seven nudibranchs, five fossil urchins, one fossil sand dollar, one coral, one skate, one African lizard, and a new infectious bird virus.

“Biodiversity scientists estimate that we have discovered less than 10% of the species on our planet,” said Dr. Shannon Bennett the Academy’s Chief of Science. “Academy scientists tirelessly explore the lesser-known regions of Earth… Each of these species, known and as-yet-unknown is a wonder unto itself, but may also hold the key to ground-breaking innovations in science, technology, or society.”

These are some of the highlights of what they’ve discovered in 2016.

 

A new groppo fish

The Grammatonotus brianne is the deepest fish discovered by human hands, at 487 feet beneath the ocean’s surface in the Philippines. 

Armoured lizard of Angola

So far, not much is known about Angolan species of armored lizards, so the researchers are hopeful that the new species will help answer some questions. 

A blood sucking ant

43 new ant species were discovered in total, including the Stigmatomma, or Dracula ant, which builds tiny, few-chambered colonies beneath the soil in Madagascar. 

A colourful new sea slug

This sea slug, or nudibranch, was found in the shallow waters of California, along with 6 others.

A new Pacific fish

This new skate fish discovered in the Pacific adds to the 200 plus already described species. 

A ground beetle

Many new beetle species have been discovered in Madagascar. Ground beetles are a hugely diverse group of insects, both with wings and without, that feast on other insects.

Symplocos nigridentata

The flowering shrub Symplocos nigridentata is one of six new plants discovered. Symplocos is a genus of flowering plants, containing about 250 species native to Asia, Australia and the Americas.

A new bird virus

A new virus was identified, which causes deformed beaks in birds. It belongs to the picornavirus family, which is a large and diverse group of viruses that includes human infections like polio, hepatitis A, and the common cold.


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