Discovering New Species I Oxford Open Learning


    Discovering New Species

    5 Freshly Found In 2023

    When we hear so much about deforestation and declining habitats and dwindling species, (at a rate of 273 species a day), it can be a relief to hear that last year scientists discovered in hundreds of new-to-science species. These include an electric blue tarantula, a Giant Penguin, a Dalek Wasp, a silent frog and a teeny tiny, Pigmy Squid. In reality the seemingly endless discovery of new species shouldn’t surprise us at all because according to this Mongabay Periodical experts estimate that less than 20% of earth’s species have been documented by western science.

    The Electric Blue Tarantula

    I have to admit the newly discovered Electric Blue Tarantula caught my imagination. It has nanostructures on it’s hairs which produce an iridescent effect and is not caused by pigment photospores that typically underpin the bioluminescence seen in nature, such as in fireflies and lanternfish. These vibrant blue tarantulas were found in the muddy floor of Phan Nga province’s (located in southern Thailand) mangrove forest. Of course, also thanks to their blue glow they will not be able to creep up on you in the dark!

    Kumimanu Fordycei

    This one is a species not around anymore, but also previously unknown. Early last year, the biggest Penguin that ever lived, Kumimanu fordycei, was discovered by scientists analysing fossils found on a New Zealand Beach. It was thought to have weighed over 150 kilograms, (Arnold Schwarzenegger was 107 kg in his prime), which is about the same as a Panda and heavier than the largest bird alive today!

    The Dalek Wasp

    Discovered in the last days of 2023, The Dalek Wasp wins the best name award for me and is one of 619 new wasp species discovered this year under the encompassing Genus Dalek. Now there’s a comforting thought.

    Another Silent Frog

    “Ribbit, Ribbit”, the characteristic sound of the hopping frog would not be found emanating from this new species of Silent Frog, Hyperolius ukaguruensis, also discovered in 2023. This frog does not croak at all but uses the spines on its throat to communicate via sense of touch. It’s supposed to be a little bit like frog braille!

    Kodama Jujutsu

    I have always been used to hearing fanciful tales of Giant Squid, so was intrigued by the discovery of a trend-bucking pygmy squid, Kodama jujutsu. It is under a centimetre in length and was found close to the coastline of Okinawa Island in Japan’s Ryukyu Archipelago.


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