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Top 10 Crazy Newly-Discovered Living Animal Species

VO: RB

Script written by Michael Wynands

Space may be the final frontier, but there’s still plenty left for us to learn right here on Planet Earth. From the Xenoturbella, to the Cherax Pulcher, to the Scolopendra Cataracta, these incredible creatures have been hiding in plain sight… until now! WatchMojo counts down ten crazy newly-discovered living animal species.

Special thanks to our user Strider Xanthos for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Crazy+Newly+Discovered+Living+Animal+Species.

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Transcript
Script written by Michael Wynands

Top 10 Crazy Newly-Discovered Living Animal Species


Space may be the final frontier, but there’s still plenty left for us to learn right here on Planet Earth. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down the Top 10 Crazy Newly-Discovered Living Animal Species.
For this list, we’re looking creatures discovered relatively recently, and ranking them based on their unique characteristics, habitats or the circumstances surrounding their discovery.

#10: Xenoturbella

Is it an old sock? A deflated party balloon? Maybe some used bubble gum? Is it, as its name would suggest, a delicious, deep-fried treat traditional to Spanish and Portuguese culture? Nope… it’s a little worm-like aquatic creature, discovered in 2016, with a remarkably simple anatomy. Seriously though… these things are basically skin, a two in one mouth/anus and a digestive space. The discovery of this new species off the coast of California and Mexico, along with three others, apparently provides crucial insight into early animal evolution. For those of us not familiar with marine biology however, it’s just an interesting looking new creature that seriously resembles a churro.

#9: Cherax Pulcher

This is an odd one, but it’s a good one. The scientific community only officially discovered this acid trip of a crayfish species in 2015 after… wait for it… they found them in pet shops! These colorful creatures started getting traded on the international home aquarium market, and eventually, someone in the know took note, and realised that they were unknown to the scientific community. After some detective work, moving backwards from distributors to suppliers, their area of origin was finally identified as Bird's Head Peninsula in New Guinea. That’s where these stunning crayfish, found only in Hoa Creek, are not only a source of export income, but a part of the local village’s diet as well.


#8: Scolopendra Cataracta

Filmmakers in the horror genre, take note… because this is the new stuff of nightmares. This nasty little critter was first discovered in Thailand by quite possibly the only type of person who would have been excited to make its acquaintance - an entomologist. Though George Beccaloni was surely thrilled with what he found in 2003, he was there on honeymoon; and we can’t help but imagine that his wife was less enthused by him spending his time bug-hunting. Even he, however, had to admit that it’s “horrific-looking”. Nearly 8 inches long, this creature is the first known of its kind - an amphibious centipede. It’s also carnivorous, venomous, and nocturnal. Enjoy your late night skinny dip!

#7: Gracillimus Radix

Around the world, wild rats are usually omnivorous, eating a diet of grains, fruits, vegetables, bugs and, depending on the situation and species, other small animals. In Indonesia however, this rat’s omnivorous ways make it an oddity, given that most other related rodents in the area, like the Sulawesi Water Rat and Hog-Nosed Rat, are strict carnivores. Discovered in 2016, the Gracillimus Radix, which roughly translates to “slender root rat” was found on Mount Gandang Dewata, where it uses its abundance of whiskers to feel around the forest floor for food. This little cutie is actually the fourth new rat species found on Sulawesi island since 2010.

#6: Illacme Tobini

What this little creepy crawler lacks in size, it more than makes up for in number of penises. Wait… what? That’s not how that saying is supposed to go. But hey, given the fact that this insect also has 414 legs, we’re just gonna give up on trying to understand it and focus all our energy on keeping this Frankenstein’s Monster-meets-Casanova the hell away from us. Because here’s the scariest part of all... pairs 9 and 10 of those legs are actually four penises in disguise. At under an inch in length, this little freak also somehow manages to fit in 200 pores believed to secrete poison. Honestly, we preferred living in ignorance of this one.

#5: Pheidole Viserion And Pheidole Drogon

There are a lot of ways in which the pop culture significance of a TV series can be measured. Sure, you could go by the viewership numbers, or take a poll to see how many halloween costumes it inspired. But really... a show hasn’t reached pop culture supremacy until scientists start naming newly discovered bugs after it. And “Game of Thrones” has got not one, but TWO species of ant named after the dragons of House Targaryen. Apparently it was the distinctly aggressive spiky protrusions on these two species of ants that made the researchers think of Khaleesi’s beloved children. Thankfully… these ants do not breathe fire.


#4: Pristimantis Mutabilis

For lack of a better way to describe it… this fascinating little amphibian is being labelled the “Shape-Shifting Frog”. And quite frankly, we’re happy that this frog wasn’t discovered sooner, because back in the day, it definitely would’ve been accused of witchcraft. Lots of frogs can change the color of their skin as part of a camouflage mechanism, but this minuscule little guy can actually alter the texture of its skin from spiky to smooth in a matter of minutes. Given that they were only formally discovered in 2015, the mechanism and purpose of this ability have yet to be fully investigated.

#3: Eulophophyllum Kirki


Remember our good buddy George Beccaloni, the honeymoon bug-hunter? Well, he played a role in the classification of this insect too. Thankfully, this time around, the new species in question isn’t pure, undiluted nightmare-fuel. Both the male and female of this distinct katydid-type species have bodies that look a lot like leaves. But that’s not what makes them so interesting. While the males, like so many katydids, are green in color, the females can only be described as absolutely breathtaking. They are pink and reddish in color, with greenish-yellow highlights. If you weren’t told otherwise, you’d be forgiven for assuming that they were CGI creatures from a sci-fi flick.

#2: Potamotrygon Rex

Though perhaps not as colorful as our previous entry, this stingray still has some eye catching orange spots to make it stand out. Of course, it’s got a lot more going for it than flair. Notice the word “Rex” in its name? That’s not a title to be taken lightly. It’s quite frankly impressive that this species, which has truly earned the moniker “King”, managed to glide under the radar for so long, given that it can weigh in at up to a chunky 44 lbs and can reach an impressive 43 inches front to back. Found only in the Rio Tocantins in Brazil, this magnificent freshwater creature was only discovered in 2016.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
Phyllodesmium Acanthorhinum
(A unique type of sea slug)


Acmella Nana
(The world’s smallest snail)

Jotus Remus
(A spider that plays peekaboo)

#1: Eriovixia Gryffindori

Isn’t the age of unabashedly geeky scientists the best? If “Gryffindori” caught your eye, then you’ve likely made the scientists who discovered this new species of spider very happy. First documented in 2016, this unique-looking arachnid was so-named because of its striking resemblance to the Sorting Hat from the “Harry Potter” franchise. It honors the Sorting Hat’s legendary owner, and Hogwarts co-founder, Godric Gryffindor. Giving further context to their naming choice, the team behind the discovery explained that the fun name was to help this exciting new species get the attention it deserves. While we love the name they chose, we’re a little worried about wannabe-wizards putting this spider on their heads.
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