Glow-in-the-Dark Cockroach, Worlds Smallest Frog: Year's List of Top New Species

PHOTO: Scientists announce top 10 new discovered species list for 2013.
Scientists announce top 10 new discovered species list for 2013. (Intl. Inst. for Species Exploration at Arizona State Univ.)

ABC World News
May 23, 2013

What's new in animal species? Plenty, according to a new Top 10 list that includes everything from a glow-in-the-dark cockroach to an "Old World" monkey with a bright blue buttocks.

"Through the top 10, we are really just trying to raise awareness about how many species there are on the planet," Quentin Wheeler, founding director of the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE), told ABC News. This is the sixth annual such list by the Institute at Arizona State University.

"On average, 18,000 species a year are discovered. That sounds like a lot, but it really isn't."

Wheeler said there are an estimated 10 to 12 million living species, but only about 2 million have been discovered. This year's top 10 list was whittled down from more than 140 nominees.

While the institute simply compiles a list, "These discoveries are actually made by professionals and amateurs around the world," he said.

The 2013 release by the IISE showcases, among many impressive things, the discovery of the world's smallest vertebrate - a tiny, 7 millimeter frog found in Papua, New Guinea. An image released by the institute shows the frog taking up about a third of the space on the face of a U.S. dime. The largest known vertebrate in the world is the blue whale, measuring 85 feet long.

A new type of luminescent (or glow-in-the-dark) cockroach specimen was discovered in Ecuador. Though the species may have already been extinct for some time, Wheeler said it's believed that the cockroach would mimic the toxic luminescent clicking beetle to ward off predators. This cockroach is one of more than a dozen species of luminescent cockroaches discovered since 1999.

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