Developing

Top 10 New Species Revealed By Scientists

A 'devil's worm', a sneezing monkey and an orchid that only blooms at night have been named in the latest top 10 list of new species.

Chosen by scientists from 200 nominated animals and plants described for the first time last year, a venomous jellyfish, giant millipede, parasitic wasp and a blue tarantula also make the top 10.

The list is published each year by the International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University in the US.

It commemorates the birth on May 23 1707 of Carolus Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist who devised the modern system of animal and plant classification.


                                         [Related gallery: Meet the top 10 new species of 2012]

A committee of international scientists made the selection based on "bizarre and unusual" traits that make certain species stand out.

Institute director Professor Quentin Wheeler said: "The top 10 is intended to bring attention to the biodiversity crisis and the unsung species explorers and museums who continue a 250-year tradition of discovering and describing the millions of kinds of plants, animals and microbes with whom we share this planet."

The 'sneezing monkey', Rhinopithecus strykeri, was found by scientists conducting a gibbon survey in the high mountains of Burma.

The critically endangered snub-nosed monkey has a distinctive white beard and sneezes when it rains.

Sazima's tarantula is a striking, iridescent blue hairy spider from South America. Pterinopeima sazimai inhabits tabletop mountains in a remote part of eastern Brazil.

The night-blooming orchid, named Bulbophyllum nocturnum, by scientists from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, was discovered in Papua New Guinea. Its flowers open at around 10pm and close early the next morning.

Measuring just half a millimetre, the 'devil's worm' was found at a depth of 0.8 of a mile, in a South African gold mine where temperatures reach 37C.

The worm is the deepest living multicellular terrestrial organism on Earth and was named Halicephalobus mephisto after mestopheles, the demon in the Faust legend.

Also on the list is the Bonaire banded box jelly, a colourful and venomous jellyfish found near the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire. Its scientific name, Tamoya ohboya, was chosen because of an assumption that anyone stung by the creature is likely to exclaim "oh boy!".