The year is barely half over, but the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s (ESF) International Institute for Species Exploration has unveiled the Top 10 New Species for 2018. This list is published annually around May 23 in to coincide with the birthday of Carolus Linnaeus, the “Father of Taxonomy.” These 10 species were selected by an international committee of taxonomists, from the approximately 18,000 new species discovered and named over the past 12 months.

The plants, microbes and animals hail from the Antarctic and Pacific Oceans, Brazil, Costa Rica, Sumatra, the Canary Islands, Japan, Australia and China. One, whose origins in the wild remain a mystery, was discovered in an aquarium in the U.S.

Found in a San Diego aquarium, Ancoracysta twista is a new single-celled protist. The predatory flagellate appears to be a previously undiscovered, early lineage of Eukaryota with a uniquely rich mitochondrial genome.

Dinizia jueirana-facao, up to 130 feet (40 meters) in height, emerges above the canopy of the semi-deciduous, riparian, pristine Atlantic forest where it is found. This massive tree, weighing an estimated 62 tons (56,000 kilograms), Dinizia jueirana-facao is a massive tree known only from within and just beyond the boundaries of the Reserva Natural Vale in northern Espirito Santo, Brazil. The species is limited in numbers, known from only 25 individuals, about half of which are in the protected area, making it critically endangered.

About 2 inches (50 millimeters) in length and featuring a humped back, a new amphipod found inhabiting the Southern Ocean is aptly named Epimeria quasimodo. It belongs to the genus Epimeria, whose members are plentiful in the glacial waters circulating south of the Polar Front.

A tiny — just 1.5 mm long — beetle from Costa Rica co-habits with one species of nomadic army ants. When the colony is on the move, Nymphister kronaueri hitches a ride to keep up with the host ant family.

An isolated population of the orangutan, Pongo abelii, living at the southern range limit of Sumatran orangutans, has been recognized as distinct from both northern Sumatran and Bornean species. It is also deemed the most imperiled great ape in the world: only an estimated 800 individuals exist in fragmented habitat covering 250,000 acres (about 1,000 square kilometers).

The deepest-dwelling fish ever discovered with verified depth inhabits the western Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench. Pseudoliparis swirei is a small, tadpole-like fish measuring a little over 4 inches in length (112 mm) and appears to be the top predator in its benthic community.

A heterotrophic plant, which derives sustenance from other organisms instead of the photosynthesis route, was discovered on Ishigaki Island, Japan. The critically endangered Sciaphila sugimotoi is symbiotic with a fungus from which it secures nutrition without harm to the partner.

Three years after a submarine volcano erupted off the Canary Islands and eradicated much of the existing marine ecosystem, the first colonizers of this newly deposited area were identified as a new species of proteobacteria. Thiolava veneris produce long, hair-like structures composed of bacterial cells within a sheath and form enormous white mats.

Fossils from Queensland, Australia, provide evidence of a marsupial lion that ruled open forest habitat at the beginning of the Miocene, about 23 million years ago. Wakaleo schouteni weighed about 50 pounds and spent part of its time in trees. Its teeth suggest that it was not completely reliant on meat but was, rather, an omnivore.

A new species of troglobitic, or cave, ground beetle from China, less than 0.5 inches in length (about 9 mm), is striking in the dramatic elongation of its head and prothorax, the body segment immediately behind the head to which the first pair of legs attach. Xuedytes bellus was discovered in a cave in Du'an, Guangxi Province, part of a vast karst landscape riddled with caves and home to the greatest diversity of cavernicolous trechine ground beetles (family Carabidae) in the world.

Source: ESFSource: ESF

To contact the author of this article, email