New Species Discovered

In 2024, there have been several newly discovered species in just over a month. Every year, taxonomists classify tens of thousands of new extant (living) species; 2024 has already produced some incredible new discoveries.
There are instances when these species are entirely new and have never been investigated by scientists. Occasionally, more thorough investigation leads to the conclusion that a species and its subspecies should be recognized as distinct species.

New species are also being identified that paleontologists have found through studying fossils, amber, bones, and even petrified excrement. Species are occasionally given names based on the traits they possess or the areas they inhabit. Nonetheless, in an attempt to lighten the mood occasionally, scientists have given some species celebrity names. Sir David Attenborough is the subject of nearly 40 species named after him.

What is a species?

In biology, the idea of a species is likely the most fundamental. It is astounding that it has left experts scratching their heads so much. Charles Darwin believed the idea described the undefinable, so he sought to do away with it completely. The most common definition, which emphasizes interbreeding, defines a species as any group in which two individuals can mate and have offspring.
While this concept is generally true, it can produce unexpected clusters. For instance, grizzly and polar bears have started to interact and produce offspring due to climate change. Are these bears members of one particular species?

How many species go extinct each day?

Asexually reproducing species are also overlooked in the emphasis on sexuality. Some definitions take ancestry into account, but it’s not apparent where the boundaries should be drawn.Do we belong to the same species as our aquatic ancestors? Additional definitions center on physiology, geography, and ecology.

How many plant species are there?
There are 342,953 species of vascular plants (plants that can carry nutrients and water), according to Kew Gardens. There are 22,750 kinds of plants that do not have a circulatory system, including lichens and mosses. Algae, or seaweeds, total roughly 22,000 in number.
With new species being found every year, the total number of recognized plant species rises to 387,703 when these are added together.
It is impossible to respond to this exactly.Extinction rates are estimated at widely differing rates, and new species may become extinct before they are ever thoroughly studied. The annual “natural extinction rate,” or the rate at which species would go extinct in the absence of humans, is one approach to begin calculating it. Again, opinions on this vary. This is commonly given as one per million (or 0.00001%) per year.

Newly described species of 2024

DiCaprio’s snail-eating snake (Sibon irmelindicaprioae), Panama and Colombia

DiCaprio’s snail-eating snake

According to experts, the present rate of extinction has increased to 1,000–10,000 times the pace that it would naturally occur. Using a natural rate of one per million, current rates range from 0.01 to 0.1% annually. It is estimated that 1.6 million exist. recognized species on Earth, but there may be up to 100 million, according to some specialists. Calculating the worst-case scenario’s calculations, we find that 273 species are going extinct per day.
There are claims that we are in the midst of a sixth extinction. Unlike other mass extinction catastrophes caused by a very massive asteroid, geological activity, and climate shifts, we are to fault for the current losses.

Stream treefrog (Hyloscirtus tolkieni), Ecuador

Stream-treefrog

Scientists have described five new species of snail-eating snakes, and DiCaprio’s snail-eating snake (Sibon irmelindicaprioae) is a species that lives in trees. Because the species is present in multiple large regions with pristine forests, the authors of the research classified it as Near Threatened. Even though pasture has replaced some of its habitat, the species is most likely not disappearing quickly enough to be classified as threatened. The recently discovered species is found in sixteen locales in Panama and Colombia. One of these is a small community living in the mountains of Colombia’s Cordillera Oriental. It occurs at higher elevations and has a somewhat different pattern; further genetic research may identify it as a new species.
The actor and conservationist Leonardo DiCaprio’s mother, Irmelin DiCaprio, is honored by the special epithet “irmelindicaprioae.”

Bent-toed gecko (Cyrtodactylus santana), Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste

Bent-toed-gecko

Scientists have described the first known species of bent-toed gecko. The fourth-youngest country in the world, the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, is home to it. Part of the Lesser Sunda Islands, Timor-Leste is situated in the eastern portion of the island.

The gecko was first found during the day in the Lene Hara cave in Nino Konis Santana National Park, eluding scientists’ attempts to catch it. Since bent-toed geckos are nocturnal and less hesitant during that time of day, the scientists were able to catch ten of the animals when they returned at night. Morphological and genomic analysis confirmed its classification as an undescribed species.
In the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, where bent-toed geckos have been observed previously but never classified to species level, this is the first species of bent-toed gecko that scientists have identified. Because of the turmoil and instability that existed in Timor-Leste before its independence, not much biological surveying has been done there, but experts think there may be more undiscovered species there. The species was discovered in Nino Konis Santana National Park’s Lene Hara cave.

In addition to examining various plants and crustaceans, the team that caught the geckos might have found previously undiscovered species.
It was discovered in the Nino Konis Santana National Park, which is where the specific epithet “santana” originates named in remembrance of Nino Konis Santana, the independence fighter who was born inside the park’s borders.
Although P. intermedia resembles a shrew in appearance with its golden-brown fur and pointed nose, it is actually a member of the gymnure group of mammals. They are closely related to hedgehogs and go by the names moonrats or hairy hedgehogs. The genus Podogymnura includes P. intermedia, which is also found in the Philippines. It was discovered during a mammal census in the mountains of eastern Mindanao, a region where no previous animal surveys had been conducted.

Co-author Laurence notes, “One of the very unique things about the Philippines is that every solitary mountain or small mountain range where we have conducted surveys has multiple species that occur nowhere else – not even on neighboring mountain ranges on the same island.” Heanery, the Chicago Field Museum’s Negaunee Curator of Mammals.If you neglect to look, you won’t know what’s there.
The Latin word “intermedium,” which means “intermediate,” is the source of the particular adjective “intermedia.” It was applied to this new hedgehog-like species because its size falls between that of P. auroespinula, the largest member of the genus, and P. truei and P. minima, the other two species.
Its fur has an intermediate level of golden coloration. Heaney describes aurospinula as having long golden hairs intermingled throughout its pelage. All of the animals are quite adorable.

Gymnures (Podogymnura intermedia and P. minima), Philippines

Gymnures

It is hoped that future surveys would yield further information about the species, however it is unclear whether these will be feasible given how time-consuming planning and conducting research is remote areas, and then interpreting the results.
The species may face threats from habitat degradation and destruction from increased mining and agricultural activity in the area, as well as from the construction of roads that would facilitate easier access, even as conservation organizations and indigenous people work to protect their ancestral areas.
In the same study, the authors also classified P. minima as a species after determining through genetic and anatomical investigation that it was different from P. truei’s subspecies. The article increases the total number of Podogymnura species to four, which is twice as many species as are currently known to exist in that genus and are all native to the Philippines.

5 New Animal Species Discovered in 2023

  • Vampire Wasp, Peru.
  • Kem Kem Abelisaur, Morocco.
  • Lightbulb Anemone, U.S.
  • Nautilus spp, Oceania.
  • Giant Crab Spider, Ecuador.

Reference

https://www.discoverwildlife.com/news/new-species-discovered-this-year

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