Navigation Links
Scientists announce top 10 new species, issue SOS

TEMPE, Ariz. The International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University and an international committee of taxonomists scientists responsible for species exploration and classification today announce the top 10 new species described in 2007.

On the list are an ornate sleeper ray, with a name that sucks: Electrolux; a 75-million-year-old giant duck-billed dinosaur; a shocking pink millipede; a rare, off-the-shelf frog; one of the most venomous snakes in the world; a fruit bat; a mushroom; a jellyfish named after its victim; a life-imitates-art Dim rhinoceros beetle; and the Michelin Man plant.

The taxonomists are also issuing a SOS State of Observed Species report card on human knowledge of Earths species. In it, they report that 16,969 species new to science were discovered and described in 2006. The SOS report was compiled by ASUs International Institute for Species Exploration in partnership with the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, the International Plant Names Index, and Thompson Scientific, publisher of Zoological Record.

Photos and other information on the top 10 and the SOS report are online at

Among the top 10 picks is an ornate sleeper ray Electrolux addisoni whose name reflects the vigorous sucking action displayed on the videotape of the feeding ray from the east coast of South Africa that may rival a well-known electrical device used to suck the detritus from carpets.

Also on the list is a 75-million-year-old giant duck-billed dinosaur Gryposaurus monumentensis discovered in southern Utah by a team from Alf Museum, a California-based paleontology museum on a high school campus.

From the plant kingdom is the Michelin Man™ plant Tecticornia bibenda a succulent plant in Western Australia that resembles the Michelin® tire man.

And, in the category of life imitating art is a Dim rhinoceros beetle Megaceras briansaltini which, according to the author, looks like the Dim character from the Disney film A Bugs Life.

The international committee of taxon experts who made the selection of the top 10 from the thousands of species described in calendar year 2007 is helping draw attention to biodiversity, the field of taxonomy, and the importance of natural history museums and botanical gardens in a fun-filled way, says Professor Quentin Wheeler, an entomologist and director of ASUs International Institute for Species Exploration.

We live in an exciting time. A new generation of tools are coming online that will vastly accelerate the rate at which we are able to discover and describe species, says Wheeler. Most people do not realize just how incomplete our knowledge of Earths species is or the steady rate at which taxonomists are exploring that diversity. In 2006, for example, an average of nearly 50 species per day were discovered and named.

We are surrounded by such an exuberance of species diversity that we too often take it for granted. Charting the species of the world and their unique attributes are essential parts of understanding the history of life and is in our own self-interest as we face the challenges of living on a rapidly changing planet, Wheeler says.

Todays announcements fall on the anniversary of the birth of Carolus Linnaeus, who initiated the modern system of plant and animal names and classifications. The 300th anniversary of his birth on May 23 was celebrated worldwide in 2007 and this year marks the 250th anniversary of the beginning of animal naming.

The majority of the 16,969 species described (named) in 2006 were invertebrate animals and vascular plants, which according to the SOS report is consistent with recent years and reflects, in part, our profound ignorance of many of the most species-rich taxa inhabiting the planet.

There are about 1.8 million species that have been described since Linnaeus initiated the modern systems for naming plants and animals in the 18th century. Scientists estimate there are between 2 million and 100 million species on Earth, though most set the number closer to 10 million.

According to the authors of the SOS report: There are many reasons that scientists explore Earths species: to discover and document the results of evolutionary history; to learn the species that comprise the ecosystems upon which life on our planet depends; to establish baseline knowledge of the planets species and their distribution so that non-native pests and vectors of disease may be detected; to inform and enable conservation biology and resource management.

Perhaps most compelling is curiosity about the diversity of life analogous to our quest to map the stars of the Milky Way and the contours of the ocean floor.

The State of Observed Species report will be issued annually on May 23 by ASUs International Institute for Species Exploration, along with the top 10 new species from the previous year.

Another element of the institutes public awareness campaign is the co-production of a humorous video on biodiversity titled Planet Bob, launched on YouTube last October. The video, produced with Media Alchemy of Seattle, combines live action, state-of-the-art animation, and the vocal talents of venerable TV host Hugh Downs and others.

The Web site and the video Planet Bob represent new ways to present taxonomy and biodiversity, in a creative fusion between academia and popular technology, says Wheeler, who also is ASU vice president and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The International Institute for Species Exploration was created to advance the emerging field of cybertaxonomy in partnership with leading natural history collections, engineer new cyber tools, and educate and inspire the next generation of species explorers.


Contact: Carol Hughes
Arizona State University

Related biology news :

1. U-M scientists remove thousands of aspens to glimpse forests future
2. Scientists reveal the lifestyle evolution of wild marine bacteria
3. Scientists discover a molecular scaffold that guides connections between brain cells
4. Scientists paint viruses to track their fate in the body
5. Incense is psychoactive: Scientists identify the biology behind the ceremony
6. Scientists decipher fruit tree genome for the first time
7. Scientists discover small RNAs that regulate gene expression and protect the genome
8. Argonne scientists use lasers to align molecules
9. Too hot to handle! Scientists identify heat sensing regulator
10. Scientists dig deeper into the genetics of schizophrenia by evaluating microRNAs
11. Scientists endure Arctic for last campaign prior to CryoSat-2 launch
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/19/2015)... 2015  Although some 350 companies are actively involved ... few companies, according to Kalorama Information. These include Roche Diagnostics, ... market share of the 6.1 billion-dollar molecular testing market, ... for Molecular Diagnostic s .    ... controlled by one company and only a handful of ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... , Nov. 17, 2015  Vigilant Solutions announces ... joined its Board of Directors. --> ... after recently retiring from the partnership at TPG Capital, ... companies with over $140 Billion in revenue.  He founded ... across all the TPG companies, from 1997 to 2013.  ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... 11, 2015   Growing need for low-cost, ... has been paving the way for use of ... discrete analytes in clinical, agricultural, environmental, food and ... used in medical applications, however, their adoption is ... to continuous emphasis on improving product quality and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... November 26, 2015 ... Market 2016 - 2020 report analyzes that automating ... and quality in long-term samples, minimizing manual errors, ... Automation minimizes manual errors such as mislabeling or ... Further, it plays a vital role in blood ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Studies reveal the differences in ... pave the way for more effective treatment for one of ...   --> --> Gum ... in cats, yet relatively little was understood about the bacteria ... been conducted by researchers from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... QUEBEC CITY , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... "Company"), affirms that its business and prospects remain ... , Zoptrex™ (zoptarelin doxorubicin) recently received DSMB ... program to completion following review of the final ... met Phase 2 Primary Endpoint in men with ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , November 25, 2015 ... Report is a professional and in-depth study on ...      (Logo: ) , ... the industry including definitions, classifications, applications and industry ... for the international markets including development trends, competitive ...
Breaking Biology Technology: