What do a carnivorous sponge, a lobular yam and a flat-faced psychedelic frogfish all have in common? They’re among the Top 10 Species first described in 2009. That’s according the International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University. [http://species.asu.edu/Top10]
Scientists are discovering new species all the time. But who knew how many? Or how weird? According to the Institute, scientists spotted more than 18,000 plants and animals they’d never seen before in 2008 alone. That year’s most notables included caffeine-free coffee and bacteria that live in hairspray. But in 2009 we met: a bug-eating slug (most of ‘em stick with algae); a minnow with fangs, dubbed the Dracula fish; and a deep-sea worm that confuses predators by ejecting body parts that then start to glow.
Several new species sport the monikers of folks their discoverers admire, including a very large, carnivorous pitcher plant named for naturalist and TV host Sir David Attenborough to mark his 80th birthday. [Attenborough: “The Earth, as it makes its annual journey around the sun…”] Because nothing says happy birthday like being linked with a meat-eating plant big enough to digest a rat.
[The above text is an exact transcript of this podcast]