A beautiful green lacewing, a snail-eating snake, and a glow-in-the-dark cockroach. These are just three of scientists' choices for a new top ten list of newly discovered animals, plants, and microbes from 2012. Now in it's sixth year, the list is put together by an international committee of experts selected by the International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University.
The light-producing cockroach, Lucihormetica luckae, is extraordinary for a number of different reasons. Not only is it one of a rare number of land-based animals to demonstrate luminescence, it may also already be extinct. The only known specimen was discovered more than 70 years ago. In a more modern twist, a lacewing (a relative of butterflies) made it to the list after a photo of the insect was spotted on a Malaysian man's Flickr account and identified as a new species by a Californian entomologist.
One new species was discovered on Flickr
Also fighting for a place in the top 10 is a snail-eating false coral snake, hanging flies that mimicked tree leaves more than 165 million years ago, rare flowering bushes from a forest in Madagascar, and a tiny violet. Completing the list is a new species of monkey that has human-like eyes and a blue bottom and a black fungus which is causing damage to Paleolithic paintings in the Lascaux Cave in France.
IISE founding director Quentin Wheeler believes the scientific community has only discovered 20 percent of earth's living species and is calling for a NASA-like mission to discover 10 million species in the next 50 years. "This would lead to discovering countless options for a more sustainable future while securing evidence of the origins of the biosphere," Wheeler said.