New species list features bugs that feed on 'Titanic'
Steve Connor is the Science Editor of The Independent. He has won many awards for his journalism, including five-times winner of the prestigious British science writers’ award; the David Perlman Award of the American Geophysical Union; twice commended as specialist journalist of the year in the UK Press Awards; UK health journalist of the year and a special merit award of the European School of Oncology for his investigative journalism. He has a degree in zoology from the University of Oxford and has a special interest in genetics and medical science, human evolution and origins, climate change and the environment.
Tuesday 24 May 2011
A fish with arm-like fins; a two-inch leech with oversized jaws found living in a man's nose and a type of rust-eating microbe making a slow meal of the wreck of the Titanic are among the "top 10 new species" discovered in 2010, scientists announced yesterday.
The 10 new species includes a luminescent mushroom with a daylight glow found in Brazil, a small antelope known by only one specimen seized in a bush-meat market in West Africa and an orb-weaving spider from Madagascar that can spin webs up to 82-feet across with silk that is twice as strong as ordinary spider thread.
An international committee of taxonomists – led by the International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University – announced the top 10 species as a way a highlighting the amazing diversity of life on Earth, much of which has yet to be discovered and classified formally.
"At the same time that astronomers search for Earth-like planets in visible space, taxonomists are busily exploring the life forms of the most Earth-like planet of all, our own," said Quentin Wheeler, an entomologist who lead the institute at Arizona State University. "We can only realistically aspire to sustainable biodiversity if we first learn what species exist to begin with."
The leech with the gigantic teeth has been named Tyrannobdella rex, meaning "tyrant leech king" in honour of its fearsome jaws and was found attached to the nasal membrane of someone living in Peru. The Titanic bacterium, named Halomonas titanicae, is able to feed off iron-oxide, while the pancake batfish hops through the water with arm-like fins and was found in the Gulf of Mexico. Other unusual species include a jumping cockroach and a 6ft 6ins monitor lizard found on Luzon Island in the Philippines, with brightly-coloured scales and an insatiable taste for ripe fruit.
Dr Wheeler said: "Committee members had complete freedom in making their choices and developing their own criteria, from unique attributes or surprising facts about the species to peculiar names."
Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download
Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist
Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama
Very hungry Asian caterpillar threatens Britain’s box hedges
Campaigners lobby Duchess of Cornwall to persuade her son-in-law to cease Knebworth solar farm
Animal Extinction - the greatest threat to mankind
Climate change means rate of growth of trees has gone up by 77%
Conquering Everest: 60 facts about the world's tallest mountain
- 2 Scottish independence: Learn from Quebec's mistakes and beware of promises. Vote Yes.
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Revealed after 75 years of secrecy: 'Fifi' the glamorous WW2 special agent who tested British spies' resolve
- 5 Have you heard about the film Singapore has banned its people from watching? Well, you have now
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
£45000 - £55000 Per Annum 31 days holiday, pension, healthcare, annual bonus: ...
£100 - £222 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recruiting f...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: SEN TA's apply now! West Midlands
£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...