Did you know that new species of animals are constantly being discovered? Scientists think that some species pop into existence and become extinct before we can even discover them.
But tens of thousands of new species are observed, recorded, named, and delighted in every year, according to Atlas Obscura.
According to Discover Wildlife, rates of extinction have soared to between 1,000 and 10,000 times the natural rate of one per million (or 0.00001%) per year in recent history. While news of extinctions, climate change, and other woes can feel overwhelming, we take heart in the fact that there's so much more to our home planet than we have even discovered yet.
(Did you know more than 80% of the ocean is unmapped, unobserved, and unexplored? Think of all the weird and wonderful creatures living in those depths!)
So for a dose of joy and wonder, let's take a look at some of the species that have been discovered so far in 2022.
Rose-Veiled Fairy Wrasse (Maldives)
This rainbow beauty was discovered in March 2022, in the ocean's "twilight zone" in the Maldives. It's a gorgeous multi-colored fish that's named after the nation's flower, the pink rose.
Sceloporus huichol Spiny Lizard (Mexico)
Scientists examined specimens from eight museum and university collections, and found differences in morphology, colour patterns and genetics from similar species, as well as habitat preferences. The specific epithet ‘huichol’ honours the Huichol tribe of Mexico who live where the species is found, who also refer to themselves as Wixáritari (“the people”) in their native language.
Chiriquí Fire Salamander (Panama)
This brightly coloured amphibian can be distinguished from its close relatives by its colors, webbing on its hands and feet, and its number of upper teeth. The scientists suggest that it is classified as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List, due to its restricted distribution and the likelihood of anthropogenic pressure in the area.
Tapir frog (Peru)
Like other fossorial (burrowing) species, the newly described Synapturanus danta was not easy to find. The discovery of this new frog quickly garnered a lot of attention when it was announced on social media, with many people comparing it to the chocolate frogs from the Harry Potter books and films. But its common name, tapir frog, comes from the species’ tapir-like nose.
Six of the World's Smallest Frogs Discovered in Mexico
London's Natural History Museum writes about six tiny species of frogs discovered in Mexico in April of this year. Living in Mexican forests, the miniature amphibians face big challenges in the coming years, with scientists calling for them to be better protected. In total, six new species were described, bringing the total number of this group of Mexican frogs to 12.
Stay Up to Date on Newly Discovered Species
Want to read more about these amazing animals or keep your finger on the pulse of this exciting field of science? Check out the resources below.