Conserving our planet's botanical resources and ecosystems

Ghost sharks, Dracula ants, and other new species of 2015

ghost.sharkDr. Lowman is quoted in this article from cbsnews.com regarding the dozens of new species that have been discovered in 2015.

The far reaches of the globe still hold many secrets, but this year scientists discovered a few more of them: dozens of new species of animals, plants and viruses that had not been documented before.

The California Academy of Sciences released a list of 102 newly discovered species along with some stunning photographs of the latest additions.

“Biodiversity scientists estimate that we have discovered less than 10 percent of the species on our planet,” Dr. Meg Lowman, the Academy’s Chief of Science and Sustainability, said in a statement. “Academy scientists tirelessly explore the unexplored regions of Earth — not only to discover new species, but also to uncover the importance of these species to the health of our natural systems. Our findings help inform conservation decisions meant to sustain the future of life for our children and grandchildren.”

The new species highlighted by the Academy include two frogs, 23 ants, three beetles, eight wasps, 11 spiders, 26 fishes (including several types of previously unknown sharks and an electric ray), nine sea slugs, and a variety of corals, plants and viruses, the group said.

Among the discoveries are a so-called “ghost shark” that lurks deep beneath the waters off New Zealand, and six varieties of tiny Dracula ants that live underground and hunt their prey with dagger-sharp teeth.

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