There is a breathtaking diversity of animals on Planet Earth and while many species have been identified, there are still a great number that remain undiscovered. Scientific exploration in some of the remoter regions of the world discovers a number of new animal species each year. In 2011 there were a number of interesting finds.
National Geographic reported that a total of 13 types of “fanged” frogs were identified during exploration of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Scientists confirmed that nine of the species found were completely new to science. The frogs have bony protrusions on their jaw, which give them the appearance of having fangs. In some species the fangs are apparent even when they have their mouth closed, although in others the fangs don’t protrude past the gum line on the mouth.
A knew type of cockroach recently discovered has an ability that has previously not been noted in the species. The name Leaproach gives an idea of the ability, with the insect able to jump up to an amazing 50 times its own body length from a standing start. This compares with humans, who can typically jump up to 2 times their body length. The Leaproach is approximately 1/3 of an inch in length and Global Animal reports that it was discovered in South Africa. The insect typically lives in grassland, with its leaping skills enabling it to move more easily from stem to stem.
While most worms live relatively close to the surface of the Earth, a new species of “Devil Worm,” found at over 2 miles deep, was reported in June of 2011. This makes it the deepest-residing animal ever found. The worm feeds on minute bacteria and is small itself, at only 0.5mm long. The find is indicative that there may be a more interesting world deep below the surface than previously imagined. Details of the worm can be found in National Geographic.
The size of the Amazon Rainforest means that relatively larger animals can remain undiscovered. Mongabay.com reported that a team of scientists carrying out an expedition in protected areas of the forest during late 2010/early 2011 identified a new species of monkey. Know as the Titi monkey, it has distinctive features on its tail and head that have never been observed in other monkeys. The monkey was found in an area of the Amazon known as Mato Grosso.
A new species of frog identified during 2011 in Papua New Guinea has taken the record as the smallest frog on Earth. The frogs grow to a minute length of only 8 to 9 mm and live on the ground in forest moss and leaf litter. To gain a perspective on their size, Mongabay.com states that the length of the frogs is only just greater than a typical tic tac mint.
Some incredible animals have evolved during the history of Planet Earth and scientists consider that many of these are still to be discovered. Remoter areas on land and sea hold secrets still to be found, and as exploration of these areas continues in coming years new species will be identified. 2011 was no exception, with some of the interesting species found during the year shown above