Top 10 coolest new species in 2013

By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer

tiny frog
Talk about a tiny frog!

A monkey with human-like eyes, a tiny frog that’s the smallest vertebrate – animal with a backbone – in the world, and a glow-in-the-dark roach are just a few  of the top 10 amazing species chosen by the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) at Arizona State University.

They’ve also listed a snail-eating false coral snake (it looks like a poisonous coral snake, but isn’t one), flowers from the disappearing forest of Madagascar, hanging flies that mimic ginkgo tree leaves, a green lacewing insect discovered on social media (because a photographer uploaded its picture to Flickr), and a little violet and black staining fungus that might eat ancient caveman paintings in France.

Phew! That’s just a few of the amazing creatures found this year alone…

A man named Quentin Wheeler, who’s the founding director of the IISE, says, “We have identified only about two million of an estimated 10 to 12 million living species and that does not count most of the microbial world.” So, basically we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, since we’ve only identified about 10% of the world’s species (and that’s not counting stuff you can find under a microscope)!

glow in the dark roach
A glow-in-the-dark cockroach!

Wheeler goes on to say, “For decades, we have averaged 18,000 species discoveries per year which seemed reasonable before the biodiversity crisis. Now, knowing that millions of species may not survive the 21st century, it is time to pick up the pace.”

See, with all the junk humans are putting in the environment and all the life we destroy, Wheeler says if we don’t discover more species at a faster pace, we might end up killing them faster than we can find them. That’s very sad.

What is his mission? “We are calling for a NASA-like mission to discover 10 million species in the next 50 years. This would lead to discovering countless options for a more sustainable future while securing evidence of the origins of the biosphere.”

Basically, he wants something as dramatic as a NASA space mission, because finding new creatures isn’t just for fun, it can actually help us create a healthier world and learn about our planet’s history. Very important, wouldn’t you say?

Images courtesy of Jacob Sahertian and the International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University.