We didn’t know any of these animals existed before 2013

The Lavasoa dwarf lemur, 33 new kinds of ants and other discoveries

Topics: endangered species, Animals, fish, bugs,

We didn't know any of these animals existed before 2013The olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina)(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

In the depths of a single cave in Arizona, researchers at Northern Arizona University announced today that they discovered a new species of wingless, eyeless fungus beetle: Ptomaphagus parashant.

Such finds, as it turns out, are more common that we may think. At the bottoms of oceans, deep within rain forests and even on the runways of LAX live entire species that until very, very recently, no one had even known existed. In some cases, they had passed themselves off as similar-looking creatures, in others, mankind had likely never laid eyes on them. Below, some of the newest additions to known life on Earth:



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    Andreas Hapke

    Newly discovered species

    The Lavasoa dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus lavasoensis) was found roaming the forests of southern Madagascar. The announcement of its discovery, in July, came just in time -- it's possible that there are only 50 of the nocturnal mammals left in the wild.

    Wikimedia Commons

    Newly discovered species

    The Cambodian tailorbird (Orthotomus chaktomuk) is distinguished from similar species not just by its DNA, but also its song. After first being spotted in 2009, it was officially classified this June.

    Breviora

    Newly discovered species

    Four different species of legless lizard were discovered throughout California and described in the journal Brevoria on September 17: in a dune bordering a runway at LAX (Anniella stebbinsi), in a vacant lot in downtown Bakersfield (Anniella grinnelli), in an oil field (Anniella alexanderae), and on the outskirts of the Mojave Desert (Anniella campi). The species were named after four U.C. Berkeley scientists. And no, they aren't snakes.

    Wikimedia Commons

    Newly discovered species

    This raccoon-sized mammal spent a year masquerading as an olingo in D.C.'s National Zoo before researchers figured out why it refused to mate with the others. In August, they announced that it was an entirely new species, which they named the olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina). That's Spanish for "little olingo," naturally.

    John T. Longino, University of Utah

    Newly discovered species

    A full 33 previously unknown ant species were discovered in Central America and the Caribbean, researchers announced in July. They're minuscule and nearly blind, and about a third of them, like Eurhopalothrix zipacna and Eurhopalothrix xibalba were named after Mayan deities.

    Screenshot, Conservation International

    Newly discovered species

    This variety of epaulette shark (Hemiscyllium halmahera) was first photographed "walking" in the reefs of Indonesia in 2008. It was formally identified as a new species in August, joining two others that have been identified in the past six years.

    ZooKeys

    Newly discovered species

    This rare striped bat belongs to an entirely new genus, according to a study published in April. Bucknell University biologists gave it its own classification -- Niumnaha -- after capturing and examining the fifth-ever live specimen.

    Pablo J. Venegas

    Newly discovered species

    Perhaps because their green and brown coloring allowed them to blend into the Peruvian rainforest, two species of lizard were unknown to the public until March. One, Enyalioides azulae, was named for Cordillera Azul National Park, where it was found.

    Gennadiy Shandikov and Richard Eakin/ZooKeys

    Newly discovered species

    Ukrainian scientists indeding to catch Antarctic toothfish instead discovered what they decided to call the hopbeard plunderfish (Pogonophryne neyelovi).They published their findings in April.

    Philippe Verbelen

    Newly discovered species

    The Rinjani scops owl (Otus jolandae) looks similar to other species on the Indonesian island of Lombok, but researchers wrote in February that they were eventually able to identify it by its unique song.

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Lindsay Abrams

Lindsay Abrams is a staff writer at Salon, reporting on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email labrams@salon.com.

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