Top 10 new species from 2011 officially announced. There is a spider (it's blue!)

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Name: Rhinopithecus strykeri

Common Name: Sneezing Monkey

Family: Cercopithecidae

How it made the Top 10: Since 2000, the number of mammals discovered each year only averages about 36 so it was nothing to sneeze at when a new primate came to the attention of scientists who were conducting a gibbon survey in the high mountains of Myanmar (formerly Burma). Rhinopithecus strykeri is the first snub-nosed monkey to be reported from Myanmar and is believed to be Critically Endangered. It is distinctive for its mostly black fur and white beard and for sneezing when it rains – although it tries to avoid dripping rainwater in its turned up nose by sitting with its head between its legs. While conducting interviews for the Hoolock Gibbon Status Review, hunters and villagers told the survey team of scientists that they could find this snub-nosed monkey by waiting until it rained and listening for sneezes in the trees. We say congratulations… and Gesundheit.

Etymology: strykeri is named in “honor of Jon Stryker, President, and Founder of the Arcus Foundation.”

Type Material: Holotype - Anthropological Institute and Museum of the University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland. Paratypes - zoological collection of Hlawga Wildlife Park, Yangon Division, Myanmar and Anthropological Institute and Museum of the University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.

Type Locality: Maw River area, northeastern Kachin state, northeastern Myanmar

Reference: Geissmann,T., Lwin, N., Aung, S.S., Aung, T.N., Aung, Z.M., Hla, T.H., Grindley, M., & Momberg, F. (2011). A New Species of Snub-Nosed Monkey, Genus Rhinopithecus Milne-Edwards, 1872 (Primates, Colobinae), From Northern Kachin State, Northeastern Myanmar. American Journal of Primatology 73:96 – 107.

Name: Tamoya ohboya

Common Name: Bonaire Banded Box Jelly

Family: Tamoyidae

How it made the Top 10: This strikingly beautiful but venomous box jelly has had so many sightings since 2001 that it had a common name before being officially described in 2011 after the capture of a specimen in 2008.The sightings of this new species remind us of the opportunities for citizen scientists to participate in species exploration. More than 300 entries were submitted in an online competition to name this new species and hundreds of votes were cast to select ohboya as the winner, a name suggested by high school biology teacher Lisa Peck. Ms. Peck presumed people must exclaim “Oh Boy!” when they first encounter this amazing jelly – including swimmers, scuba divers, scientists, and even doctors who have treated victims of its serious stings.

Watch it swim! and

Etymology: ohboya is named “Oh Boy!!!” after the reaction that someone could have when first encountering this species.

Type Material: Holotype and paratypes - National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Type Locality: Divi Flamingo, Bonaire, Netherlands (Dutch Caribbean)

Reference: Collins, A.G., Bentlage, B., Gillan, W., Lynn, T.H., Morandini, A.C. & Marques, A.C. (2011). Naming the Bonaire banded box jelly, Tamoya ohboya, n. sp. (Cnidaria: Cubozoa: Carybdeida: Tamoyidae). Zootaxa 2753: 53 – 68.

Name: Halicephalobus mephisto

Common Name: Devil’s Worm

Family: Panagrolaimidae

How it made the Top 10: Measuring about 0.5 mm in length, these tiny nematodes are the deepest-living terrestrial multicellular organisms on earth. Discovered at a depth of 1.3 km (8/10 mile) in a South African gold mine, this species is remarkable for surviving immense underground pressure as well as high temperatures (37o C / 98.6 o F). According to the authors, carbon dating indicated that the borehole water where this species lives had not been in contact with the earth’s atmosphere for the last 4,000 to 6,000 years. The discovery of H. mephisto in Earth’s deep subsurface is also significant because it may have important implications for the discovery of life at similar subterranean depths on other planets.

Etymology: mephisto in reference to the Faust legend of the Devil “because the new species is found at a depth of 1.3 km in the Earth’s crust.”

Type Material: Holotype – Museum voor Dierkunde, Ghent University, Belgium. Paratypes – Museum voor Dierkunde, Ghent University, Belgium and the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa.

Type Locality: “collected from shaft 3, level 26, corridor 28 of Beatrix gold mine, South Africa, approximately 1 km north of shaft 3 (28 ͦ 149 24.0699 S, 26 ͦ 479 45.2599 E).”

Reference: Borgonie,G., García-Moyano, A., Litthauer D., Bert, W., Bester, A., van Heerden, E., Möller, C., Erasmus, M. & Onstott, T.C. (2011). Nematoda from the terrestrial deep subsurface of South Africa. Nature 474: 79 – 82.

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Name: Bulbophyllum nocturnum

Common Name: Night-blooming Orchid

Family: Orchidaceae

How it made the Top 10: The discovery of this new species is significant because it has the first night-blooming flowers recorded among the more than 25,000 known species of orchids. Within the orchid family, its genus (Bulbophyllum) is spectacularly diverse with about 2,000 named species. The slender bizarre-looking flowers of Bulbophyllum nocturnum are rather small and start to open around 10pm but close the next morning, lasting only about 12 hours. This new species is known from a single plant and may be at risk due to habitat loss from logging practices in its native New Guinea.

Etymology: nocturnum from the Latin word meaning “at night” to reflect the orchid’s night-time blooming.

Type Material: Holotype - Papua New Guinea Forest Research Institute, Papua New Guinea National Herbarium; isotypes – Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and National Herbarium of the Netherlands.

Type Locality: New Britain, Papua New Guinea

Reference: Schuiteman, A., Vermeulen, J.J., De Vogel, E. & Vogel, A. (2011). Nocturne for an unknown pollinator: first description of a night-flowering orchid (Bulbophyllum nocturnum). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 167, 344 – 350.

Name: Kollasmosoma sentum

Family: Braconidae

How it made the Top 10: This new species of parasitic wasp cruises at just one centimeter above the ground in search of its target. When its host is located (the ant Cataglyphis ibericus), this teensy wasp attacks from the air like a tiny dive bomber and deposits an egg in the unsuspecting ant. The sorties last on average a scant 0.052 seconds but are deadly, transforming ants into rations for larvae of the wasps. When ants are aware of the air raid they may wave away the wasps with their legs or turn with mandibles open to face the assailant. This impressive egg-laying or oviposition behavior has been captured on film and may be seen on YouTube (link below).

Watch them attack!

Etymology: sentum is from the Latin word, sentus, meaning “thorny” or “spiny” to reflect the “thorn-like spine of the fifth sternite of the female.”

Type Material: Holotype - Netherlands Centre for Biodiversity Naturalis, Leiden, Netherlands

Type Locality: Institute for Agriculture and Food Research and Technology, Madrid, Spain.

Reference: Gómez Durán, J-M. & van Achterberg, C. (2011). Oviposition behaviour of four ant parasitoids (Hymenoptera, Braconidae, Euphorinae, Neoneurini and Ichneumonidae, Hybrizontinae), with the description of three new European species. ZooKeys 125: 59 – 106.

Name: Spongiforma squarepantsii

Common Name: Spongebob Squarepants Mushroom

Family: Boletaceae

How it made the Top 10: Named after the cartoon character Spongebob Squarepants, this new species looks more like a sponge than a stereotypical mushroom and its fruiting body can actually be squeezed like a sponge and bounce back to its normal size and shape. This unusual mushroom is only the second species of the bolete fungus genus Spongiforma and according to the authors, “its unusual shape is unlike anything else known.” Beyond having a shape that brings Spongebob Squarepants to mind, the authors note other similarities between the fungus and the cartoon personality. The mushrooms smells fruity and Spongebob lives in a pineapple; magnified, the texture of the fungus resembles the tube sponges covering the seafloor where Spongebob lives; and even the microscopic spores of the fungus appear spongelike. Although the species name was initially rejected by journal editors as "frivolous," the authors persisted and as a result, brought attention to a bizarre new species and to the biodiversity of the world’s forests.

Etymology: squarepantsii is named after the species’ resemblance to the well-known cartoon character Spongebob Squarepants; Spongiforma is genus of sponge-like fungi that was named in 2009 by Desjardin, Manf. Binder, Roekring & Flegel

Type Material: Holotype – University of California at Berkeley.

Type Locality: Lambir Hills National Park, Sarawak, island of Borneo, Malaysia

Reference: Desjardin, D.E., Peay, K.G. & Bruns, T.D. (2011). Spongiforma squarepantsii, a new species of gasteroid bolete from Borneo. Mycologia, 103(5), 1119–1123.

Name: Meconopsis autumnalis

Common Name: Nepalese Autumn Poppy

Family: Papaveraceae

How it made the Top 10: Many newly discovered species are small in size or secretive in habits, but not all. This beautiful and vibrantly colored poppy has remained unknown to science until now. This is no doubt due in part to the extreme environment where the flower lives at an elevation of 10,827 to 13,780 feet in central Nepal. It is also evidence of the paucity of botanists studying the Asian flora as specimens of Meconopsis autumnalis had been collected twice before, although not recognized as new -- first in 1962 by the storied Himalayan plant hunter Adam Stainton and again in 1994 by staff of the University of Tokyo’s Department of Plant Resources. The recent rediscovery of the poppy in the field was made by intrepid botanists collecting plants miles from human habitation in heavy monsoon rains.

Etymology: autumnalis to reflect the autumn season when the plant flowers.

Type Material: Holotype and isotypes – Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Type Locality: Ganesh Himal (Rasuwa District), central Nepal

Reference: Egan, P.A. (2011). Meconopsis autumnalis and M. manasluensis (Papaveraceae), two new species of Himalayan poppy endemic to central Nepal with sympatric congeners. Phytotaxa 20: 47 – 56.

Name: Crurifarcimen vagans

Common Name: Wandering Leg Sausage

Family: Pachybolidae

How it made the Top 10: Although this millipede is no match in length for the giant African millipede (Archispirostreptus gigas at 38 cm/ 15 inches), new species Crurifarcimen vagans holds a new record as the largest millipede (16 cm) in one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, Tanzania’s Eastern Arc Mountains. The new genus name seems apt given the fat, sausage-like shape of the millipede’s body which is about 1.5 cm in diameter with 56 more or less podous rings (body segments bearing ambulatory limbs) – each with two pairs of legs. C. vagans is found in eastern and western Usambara Mountain forests at elevations of 940 to 1800 meters in decaying wood.

Etymology: genus name Crurifarcimen from the Latin words “crus” for leg and “farcimen” meaning sausage; species epithet vagans from the Latin word “vagans” meaning wandering or itinerant; thus, the full species name means the “wandering leg sausage.”

Type Material: Holotypes and paratypes – Zoological Museum, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen; additional paratypes – Virginia Museum of Natural History

Type Locality: Tanga Region of Tanzania

Reference: Enghoff, H. (2011). East African giant millipedes of the tribe Pachybolini (Diplopoda, Spirobolida, Pachybolidae). Zootaxa 2753: 1 – 41.

Name: Diania cactiformis

Common Name: Walking Cactus

Family: belongs to the extinct class Xenusia

How it made the Top 10: Although this new species looks more like a cactus than an animal at first glance, Diania cactiformis belongs to an extinct group called the armoured Lobopodia. Like the only living lobopodians (the Onychophora or velvet worms), the armoured lobopodians had wormlike bodies and multiple pairs of legs. D. cactiformis is significant because it has segmented legs adding weight to the theory that arthropods (the largest group of living animals including insects, spiders, and crustacea) evolved from lobopodian ancestors. Stated another way, it looks as if D. cactiformis may share a more recent common ancestor with arthropods than with other lobopodians and that is big news. D. cactiformis is about 6 cm long (2.4 inches) and was discovered in the famous Chengjiang deposit in southwest China in Cambrian deposits about 520 million years old.

Etymology: Diania is named for Dian, a Chinese linguistic abbreviation of Yunnan where the species was found; cactiformis refers to the animal’s cactus-like form.

Type Material: Holotype – Early Life Institute, Northwest University, Xi’an, China.

Type Locality: Yunnan, southwestern China

Reference: Liu, J., Steiner, M., Dunlop, J.A., Keupp, H., Shu, D., Ou, Q., Han, J., Zhang, Z. & Zhang, X. (2011). An armoured Cambrian lobopodian from China with arthropod-like appendages. Nature 470: 526 – 530.

Name: Pterinopelma sazimai

Common Name: Sazima’s Tarantula

Family: Theraphosidae

How it made the Top 10: Not only is this iridescent blue tarantula breathtakingly beautiful, it is the first new animal species from Brazil to have made it to the Top 10. Brazil is one of the planet’s most biologically diverse nations and is consistently a major source of species discoveries including much of Brazil's Amazon basin, its Atlantic forest, the savanna ecoregion Cerrado, and the hotspots of Brazil’s tropical Andes. Survival of tarantula species can be at risk due to loss of habitat and over-collecting for the pet trade. Although Pterinopelma sazimai is not the first blue tarantula, it is one of the most striking and may be especially vulnerable because of its limited distribution in an “ecological island” – a habitat high upon tabletop mountains which have a greater rainfall and different soils than the immediately surrounding area.

Etymology: sazimai is named in honor of Dr. Ivan Sazima “an important Brazilian zoologist who was the first researcher to collect exemplars of this species in the decades of 1970 and 1980. These specimens remained as the sole exemplars of the species known for a long time.”

Type Material: Holotype – Museu de Zoologia da Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas; paratypes - Museu de Zoologia da Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas and the Instituto Butantan, São Paulo.

Type Locality: Parque Nacional da Chapada Diamantina, Bahia, Brazil

Reference: Bertani, R., Nagahama, R.H. & Caroline Sayuri Fukushima, C.S. (2011). Revalidation of Pterinopelma Pocock 1901 with description of a new species and the female of Pterinopelma vitiosum (Keyserling 1891) (Araneae: Theraphosidae: Theraphosinae). Zootaxa 2814: 1–18.

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The Devil’s Worm blows my mind. 1.3 km straight down and there are creatures down there? That's straight out of a scary movie.

"Hold Me
Like The River Jordan
And I Will Then Say To Thee
You Are My Friend
Carry Me
Like You Are My Brother
Love Me Like A Mother
Will You Be There?"


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As much as I hate to admit it, that monkey reminded me of that person instantly too.

I want that blue spider, and I had to double-back to check if that mushroom really was named after Spongebob - now that's cool.


One day I realized that sadness is just another word for not enough coffee.
These names are amazing, it must be fun naming new species.


Wanna hear a good joke? Waste your time helping me! LOL!
Wandering Leg Sausage... what the hell man. Creeps me out.

Monkey looks cool, nose looks like it was torn off though.
If there's anything I hate as much as spiders, it's monkeys. They can both go burn in hell. Wandering Leg Sausage and Walking Cactus as well, depending on how fast they move.

That wasp is pretty cute, though.


That monkey's nose is creeping me out. It's like how a human looks if you take the cartilage portion of the nose away...
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