In the field of biodiversity science, 2022 began with a number of significant findings and a great deal of optimism. Almost every day, we see the introduction of a new species to the scientific community. Even more astounding than the diversity is how much more is yet to be uncovered. That being said, here are the exceptional new species that caused a stir with their discovery.
Southern maned sloth
Most newly described species are plants, invertebrates, fish, or amphibians, although sometimes a mammal is discovered. Occasionally, it is a rather enormous one.
Scientists originally believed there were just one species of maned sloth. However, a taxonomic assessment incorporating morphological and DNA studies, as well as field observations, indicated that there are two species of maned sloth: the northern (B. torquatus) and southern (B. senegalensis) (B. crinitus).
Both species are indigenous to the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, with the southern maned sloth inhabiting Rio de Janeiro and Espirito Santo and the northern maned sloth inhabiting Bahia and Sergipe. The term ‘crinitus’ is derived from the Latin word for hair and is hence equivalent to ‘hairy’
The Guardian reported in January 2022 that marine biologist Jacinta Shackleton had a rare glimpse of a stunningly gorgeous sea creature known as the blanket octopus off the coast of the Great Barrier Reef. She posted a video and images on Instagram of a juvenile female blanket octopus, a species renowned for its rainbow-like luminosity. According to National Geographic, females can grow up to 6 feet, while males are normally less than 1 inch long.
Shackleton told The Guardian that researchers had only observed three other blanket octopi near the Great Barrier Reef, as the species are known to live their whole lives far from the coast. The first male blanket octopus was not spotted alive until 2002. In addition, another female blanket octopus was found in Florida in July 2021.
On the list of newly discovered creatures is a tiny bug with a remarkable face shape discovered in the northwestern area of Ecuador, specifically in Choco Darien, a well-known home for several species.
Douglas Booher was the scientist who discovered this type of ant. He determined that there is something unique about this kind of ant, and he and a colleague marked and identified them as a new ant species. In terms of sexual appearance, both genders are quite similar, making it impossible to distinguish between them.
Rose-veiled fairy wrasse
In March 2022, the rose-veiled fairy wrasse was discovered in the “twilight zone” of the ocean in the Maldives. It is a beautiful multicolored fish called for the national flower, the pink rose. It was misidentified as an adult form of the red velvet fairy wrasse in the 1990s due to a tiny difference in pigmentation and has just recently been given its own species name decades later.
The new species was discovered off the coast of the Maldives and is one of the first to be described properly by a Maldivian scientist. Researchers from the California Academy of Sciences, the University of Sydney, and the Field Museum cooperated with Ahmed Najeeb of the Maldives Marine Research Institute as part of the Academy’s Hope for Reefs program.