Leaping roach, 'T-rex' leech among new species

May 23, 2011
An undated picture released in 2010 by the Peruvian Ministry of Health shows a newly discovered species of leech named Tyrannobdella Rex (Tyrant Leech King) found on two children living in sub-tropical areas of Peru in 1997 by doctor Maria Beltran Fabian, a biologist at the National Institute of Health of Peru.

A jumping cockroach, a glow-in-the-dark fungus, a rust-eating bacterium and a leech named "T-rex" were among the top 10 new species discovered in the world last year, US scientists said Monday.

The creatures were uncovered in Brazil, Madagascar, South Africa, Peru, the Philippines, West Africa, the US state of Oregon, the Mascarene Islands in the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the .

The top 10 list is compiled by global experts and released annually by the International Institute for Exploration at Arizona State University.

The leech named after a ferocious meat-eating dinosaur was removed from a man's nose in Peru. While it measures less than five centimeters (two inches) long, its powerful jaw and massive teeth earned it the name Tyrannobdella rex, which means "tyrant leech king."

Scientists in Canada and Spain identified the munching from a section of the Titanic which in 1912 sank deep into the Atlantic Ocean after striking an iceberg.

"Researchers believe this bacterium could be useful in the disposal of old ships and oil rigs that lie deep in the ocean," the IISE said in a statement.

Minuscule mushrooms in the forests of Sao Paulo, Brazil were found to "glow constantly, emitting a bright, yellowish-green light," it said, becoming one of the around 70 species of fungi in the world known to be bioluminescent.

A that mimics a grasshopper in its jumping ability was detected in South Africa. The saltoblattella montistabularis has legs are specially made for jumping, a stabilizing antenna and round eyes at the sides of its head.

A raspy cricket, glomeremus orchidophilus, found in the Mascarene Archipelago in the Indian Ocean was discovered to be the only creature that pollinates a rare orchid, Angraecum cadetii.

Scientists in the northwestern state of Oregon found an unusual mushroom thriving under the chilly waters of the Rogue River.

Schoolchildren watch orbicular batfish (top), swim in Sydney in 2003. A pancake batfish -- a fish that resembles a walking bat when it moves awkwardly through the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico -- was one of the new species discovered last year.

And a spider that can weave its web -- with silk twice as strong as any spider known to man -- across the entire width of a river was discovered in Madagascar.

"The webs of Darwin's Bark Spider have been found spanning rivers, streams and lakes, and in one instance, a web stretched 82 feet (25 meters) across a Madagascar river with at least 30 insects trapped in it," the IISE said.

Other top selections were new type of antelope, a pancake batfish -- a fish that resembles a walking bat when it moves awkwardly through the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico -- and a six-foot-long (1.8 meter) fruit-eating lizard in the Philippines.

"Our best guess is that all species discovered since 1758 represent less than 20 percent of the kinds of plants and animals inhabiting planet Earth," said Quentin Wheeler, an entomologist who directs the IISE.

"A reasonable estimate is that 10 million species remain to be described, named, and classified before the diversity and complexity of the biosphere is understood," he said.

Pictures and more details on the species are at species.asu.edu.

Explore further: A step into the unmown creates a 'win-win' for wildlife and humans

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