11 New Animal Discoveries
Some of the many exciting new species discovered in 2013.
7. Epaulette Shark
A new walking shark, called the Epaulette shark (Hemiscyllium Halmahera), with a unique pattern of brown spots across its head, was discovered in the coastal reefs off Indonesia. It’s called a walking shark because it uses its pectoral and pelvis fins to move across the bottom of the ocean when looking for food.
Although first photographed in 2008, it wasn’t formally identified as a new species until August 2013. Indonesia appears to be a popular region for walking sharks; six out of nine known species live there.
8. Glue-Spitting Velvet Worm
This new species of velvet worm, Eoperipatus totoros, is a fierce little predator: it spits an immobilizing, glue-like net onto its prey, injects it with saliva, then devours it.
At two-and-a-half inches, this velvet worm species is the first of its kind to be discovered in Vietnam. It was scientifically described in Zoologischer Anzeiger (A Journal of Comparative Zoology) in August.
“These animals are very difficult to find because most of the year, the volcanic soil [they live in] is dry on the surface,” said study co-author Ivo de Sena Oliveira. “Velvet worms are typically confined to humid habitats so the animal spends most of the year deep in the soil. They are found on the surface only during the wet season, but only rarely, and under stones and pieces of rock.”
Interestingly, the hydrostatic pressure of the worm’s fluid-filled body allows them to walk, albeit very slowly, on stubby, jointless little legs.
9. Vegetarian Piranha