New Species Discovered in 2010
The Earth and the diversity of life it harbors continues to surprise us. This year, researchers found some truly astounding creatures that had been unknown to science even through centuries of exploration. While some of these newfound species were found in remote, little-visited corners of the world, others were hiding in seemingly plain sight.
Here, OurAmazingPlanet takes a look of at some of the new species found in 2010.
A new long-tongued, squirrel-sized species of lemur was discovered in Madagascar this year and announced on Dec. 13.
The new creature doesn't have a species name yet, but is of the genus Phaner, otherwise known as fork-marked lemurs. The long-tongued species has a unique head-bobbing move that showed up in the flashlight beam as discoverers searched the treetops for a glimpse of the animal.
The lemur was first spotted during a 1995 expedition by Conservation International president and primate expert Russ Mittermeier, but the animal couldn't be identified as a new species until Mittermeier conducted a follow-up expedition in October of this year.
In November, DNA experts announced that ground parrots in Western Australia belong to a different species than those found in the rest of the country.
The find has conservation implications because numbers of this western parrot have dwindled in recent years, making it one of the world's rarest birds.
Yoda Look-alike Fruit Bat
This tube-nosed fruit bat's pointy ears and wise eyes remind some of the diminutive-yet-powerful Jedi master from George Lucas' "Star Wars" movies.
The bat was discovered along with 200 other species in the forests of Papua New Guinea.
An expedition to mountains submerged in the Indian Ocean last year found a never-before-seen species of deep-sea squid and announced the find in November.
The specimen of the squid is 30 inches (70 centimeters) long and puts on a bioluminescent display in the depths of the ocean.
Last year while exploring remote rain forests of Papua New Guinea, a team of researchers found a bunch of previously unknown species of katydids, including this pink-eyed species.
The katydids were some of the 200 new species identified by the scientists and announced in October this year. Among the other new organisms discovered during the two monthlong expeditions to Papua New Guinea were a white-tailed mouse, 24 new species of frog, nine new plants, 100 new insects and 100 more new species of spider.
One of the tiniest frogs in the world, and the smallest ever seen outside of North and South America, was discovered in the forests of the Southeast Asian island of Borneo.
The pea-sized amphibians (Microhyla nepenthicola) were found near a mountain in Kubah National Park. The mini frog was named after the plant on which it depends for survival, the Nepenthes ampullaria, one of many species of pitcher plants in Borneo.
This teeny, tiny arachnid was discovered in the caves of Yellowstone National Park. It's discoverers named it the Yosemite cave pseudoscorpion (Parobisium yosemite).
Pseudoscorpions are small arachnid predators that have eight legs, as all arachnids do, but they lack the tail-like stinger of true scorpions.
A bizarre, transparent-looking fish was discovered 23,000 feet (7,000 meters) below the surface of the ocean in an area thought to be devoid of fish. The snailfish, as it is called, was found in a trench in the southeastern Pacific.
Pearl River map turtle
A previously unknown species of turtle, no larger than a small dinner plate, was discovered in the Pearl River, which flows down through central Mississippi and forms the state's border with Louisiana.
The Pearl River map turtle (Graptemys pearlensis), discovered by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), had previously been confused with another species in a nearby river, the Pascagoula map turtle.
The newly identified turtle species is the first to be discovered in the United States since 1992, and brings the grand total of native U.S. turtle species to 57.
A speckled, cat-sized mammal, called a Durrell's vontsira , was discovered in the Lac Alaotra wetlands in central eastern Madagascar.
First seen swimming in the lake in 2004, the creature was thought to be a new species. After comparisons with specimens of a closely-related species, the carnivore's new species status was confirmed and announced earlier this year.
Unfortunately, habitat of Durrell's vontsira is threatened by agricultural expansion, burning and invasive plants and fish.
Species of the Foja Mountains
An expedition to Indonesia's remote Foja Mountains turned up a bevy of interesting creatures, including Pinocchio-nosed frogs , gargoyle-faced geckos and the world's smallest wallaby.
The frog was a tree frog with a long, Pinocchio-like spike on its nose that points upward when the male is calling but deflates and points downward when he is less active.
The newfound species the expedition detailed include several new mammals, a reptile, an amphibian, at least 12 insects and a new bird.
MORE FROM LiveScience.com