The other two species on the top 10 list are fish one found in deep-reef habitat off the coast of Ngemelis Island, Palau, and the other a fossilized specimen of the oldest known live-bearing vertebrate.
Chromis abyssus a beautiful species of damselfish made it to the top 10 representing the first taxonomic act of 2008 and the first act registered in the newly launched taxonomic database Zoobank. As a result, in the first month following its original description, it was the most downloaded article in Zootaxa's history and was among the top 10 downloaded articles for 11 months in 2008. The discovery also highlights how little is known about deep-reef biodiversity.
Also on the top 10 list is a fossilized specimen Materpiscis attenboroughi the oldent known vertebrate to be viviparous (live bearing). The specimen, an extremely rare find from Western Australia, shows a mother fish giving birth approximately 380 million years ago. The holotype specimen has been nicknamed "Josie" by the discoverer, John Long, in honor of his mother.
"The international committee of taxon experts who made the selection of the top 10 from the thousands of species described in calendar year 2008 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 Quentin Wheeler, an entomologist and director of the International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University.
"Charting the species of the world and their unique attributes are essential parts of understanding the history of life," says Wheeler. "It is in our own self-interest as we face the challenges of living on a rapidly changing planet."
According to Wheeler, a new generation of tools are coming online that will vastly accelerate the rate at which we are able to discover and describe species.
"Most people do not r
|Contact: Carol Hughes|
Arizona State University