A secretive new ground snake gets a mythology-inspired name.
Science has identified some 2 million species of plants, animals and microbes on Earth, but scientists estimated there are millions more left to discover, and new species are constantly discovered and described. The most commonly discovered new species are typically insects, a type of animal with a high degree of biodiversity. Newly discovered mammal species are rare, but they do occur, typically in remote places that haven't been well studied previously. Some animals are found to be new species only when scientists peer at their genetic code, because they look outwardly similar to another species — these are called cryptic species. Some newfound species come from museum collections that haven't been previously combed through and, of course, from fossils. Read below for stories about newly discovered species, both alive on Earth today and those that once roamed the planet.
Avicularia, a confusing genus of large "birdeater" tarantulas, gets a scientific makeover in a new study.
A rare new nematode has been found in compost on the Iberian Peninsula. Here's why the worm is so odd.
A newfound amoeba species whose funnel-shaped shell resembles a wizard's hat has been named after one of the most famous warlocks: Gandalf, of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.
A newly discovered gecko species belongs to a group with an unusual defensive strategy that might make your skin crawl.
A tiny, hat-like shell that adorns a 478-million-year-old spiky slug is helping scientists figure out how mollusks evolved over the ages, according to a new study.
A 478-million-year-old worm with a small hat-like shell on its head is helping scientists decipher the mollusk family tree.
A previously unknown ghost shark with rabbit-like teeth and a bulky head is making waves in record books; it's the 50th ghost shark species known to science, a new study reported.
About 500 million years ago, a squishy, thumb-size sea creature did a little dance — waving its upper limbs around in the ocean in a never-ending attempt to ensnarl some tasty morsels floating by.
The fossils of a worm-like sea creature suggest that it did a little dance to help it catch tiny meals, such as zooplankton, in the ancient seas.
A speck-size creature without an anus is the oldest known prehistoric ancestor of humans, a new study finds.
A newfound crab named after "Harry Potter" wizards may not be magical, but its discovery is certainly enchanting.
More than 6 million years ago, an otter the size of a wolf swam around the swamps of ancient southwestern China.
A fearsome, wolf-size otter with a large head and a powerful jaw once swam around the shallow, swampy waters of ancient China, likely hunting for clams and other shellfish, a new study finds.
Would you like to cross paths with a hairy tarantula from Colombia or a Thai newt that looks like a "Star Trek" Klingon? If the answer is yes, you're in good company.
Next time he's vacationing in Hawaii, President Barack Obama might just bump into his new namesake: a pink, yellow and blue coral-reef fish that researchers have named in the president's honor.