Researchers at the California Academy of Sciences have claimed that they have found 71 new plant and animal species in 2019 which range from geckos to goblin spiders, flowering plants, and Mediterranean ants. Scientists made these discoveries in all of the five continents and three oceans.
While adding to the already existing huge species list discovered by humans so far, these new findings have also furthered human understanding of complex web of life of on Earth as well as further strengthen abilities of the human race to make informed decisions for conservation of nature, claimed the scientists behind the discoveries.
The new species include 17 fish, 15 geckos, eight flowering plants, six sea slugs, five arachnids, four eels, three ants, three skinks, two skates, two wasps, two mosses, two corals, and two lizards.
The work was done by more than a dozen scientists form the California Academy of Sciences and helped along by many more international collaborators.
“Despite decades of tirelessly scouring some of the most familiar and remote places on Earth,” says Shannon Bennett, PhD, and Academy Chief of Science. “Biodiversity scientists estimate that more than 90% of nature’s species remain unknown. A rich diversity of plants and animals is what allows life on our planet to thrive: the interconnectedness of all living systems provides collective resilience in the face of our climate crisis. Each newly discovered species serves as an important reminder of the critical role we play in better understanding and preserving these precious ecosystems.”
A rare white-blossomed plant Trembleya altoparaisensis which was discovered on the basis of data and information of several specimens collected over 100 years ago by the famous 19th-century botanist Auguste Francois Marie Glaziou, said Emeritus Curator of Botany, Frank Almeda. The scientists said that this plant is very difficult to find in the wild and therefore is very rare.
“People don’t think plants move,” says Ricardo Pacifico, a PhD student working with Almeda and visiting researcher at the Academy, “but they do.” Plants tend to new areas that better suit them when there is a change in the environment.
The field work done by botanists like Pacifico that seek to document exactly where these plants thrive in the wild was emphasized by Almeda. “Sure, national parks are protected,” he says. “But we must ensure we know what grows in the parks.”
Scientists have also identified that a previously known type of skate — cartilaginous ray-like fish that live at depths of up to almost 2000 feet (600 meters), is in fact a new species. Ichthyology Research Associate David Ebert and his team found this out and pointed out that the newly described species is Dipturus lamillai and it might not be Dipturus chilensis species of skate as was previously thought.
15 mottled day geckos, three island-dwelling skinks, an ostentatiously orange lizard, and a high-altitude girdled lizard were discovered by Aaron Bauer, a research associate at the California Academy of Sciences.
Other new discoveries include a new species of Californian corals, a fleet of fish including a cat-eyed cardinalfish and a fish named C. wakanda and cave-dwelling and ant-loving arachnids.
(Adapted from ScienceDaily.com)