Animals galore

Parasitic wasps, friendly anemones: 9 new species identified in 2022

And there are many more left to discover.

Marco Correia

Tea et. al/Zookeys

In a time when extinction regularly makes headlines, it might seem paradoxical that scientists are still documenting new species.

Only a small fraction of the world’s biodiversity is formally on the books.

From the depths of the ocean to the densest forests on Earth, undiscovered creatures are hiding right under our noses.

Konrad Mebert

Yoshikawa et. al/The Biological Bulletin

In 2022, we got a glimpse at some peculiar animals new to science.

Meet several parasitic wasps, a stunning snake, a friendly deep-sea anemone, and more.

Here are 9 new species identified in 2022:

Martim Melo

9. Hyloscirtus sethmacfarlanei

This frog’s name might ring a bell since it’s named after actor Seth MacFarlane.

Reyes-Puig et. al/PeerJ

Reyes-Puig et. al/PeerJ

Native to the Amazon rainforest, researchers documented the frog in September in the journal Zoological Science. They note that it is most likely a threatened species.

8. Pristimantis Gretathunbergae

Here’s another new amphibian that’s named for someone famous: Greta Thunberg’s Rainfrog.

Konrad Mebert

Konrad Mebert

It lives high in the mountains of central Panama, where deforestation threatens its habitat.

7. Stylobates calcifer

This newly identified deep-sea anemone lives in close quarters with the hermit crab Pagurodofleinia doederleini — literally making a home on top of its shell.

Yoshikawa et. al/The Biological Bulletin

Yoshikawa et. al/The Biological Bulletin

Symbiotic relationships are common between hermit crabs and anemones.

But this was the first time researchers recorded these two particular species interacting.

6. Otus bikegila

Though reports of this owl’s existence date back decades, it wasn’t until this year that it was documented in a study.

Martim Melo

Marco Correia

O. bikegila is also known as the Principe Scops-Owl and is native to Príncipe Island.

5. Cirrhilabrus finifenmaa

This striking fish was previously thought to be the adult version of another species.

Tea et. al/Zookeys

Tea et. al/Zookeys

Even though it looks similar to other rainbow swimmers in the Maldives, a closer analysis revealed that it's actually in a class of its own.

4. Omyrus labotus

When analyzing the DNA of this parasitic wasp, researchers came across a surprise.

Sofia Sheikh

Sofia Sheikh

O. labotus actually represents 16 to 18 different species.

It’s a perfect example of a cryptic species or one that boasts more diversity than meets the eye.

3. Paruroctonus soda

Along with another scorpion, Paruroctonus conclusus, this species was first spotted by citizen scientists in California.

Gayle Laird © California Academy of Sciences

Gayle Laird © California Academy of Sciences

They were identified in a report this year with major contributions from two high school students.

P. soda’s population appears more stable than that of P. conclusus, though both species are threatened by climate change.

2. Paraliparis selti

While exploring the depths of the Atacama Trench beneath the Pacific Ocean, researchers were surprised by this unfamiliar snailfish.

Dr Thom Linley, Professor Alan Jamieson

Dr Thom Linley

Though it lives in deep waters, the snailfish looks a lot more like its cousins that are found close to shore.

1. Phalotris shawnella

The shimmering colors on this Paraguayan snake might seem like a warning, but P. shawnella is actually non-venomous.

Jean-Paul Brouard

Jean-Paul Brouard

A yellow collar around its neck is the most obvious identifier that separates this species from similar snakes.