“Salsa-dancing” spiders, sponge-clad little crabs and breast-bursting wasps are just some of the 626 new species discovered by Australian scientists in the last 12 months.
Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said scientists are discovering and naming about two new species every day.
“Only about a third of the species found in Australia have been found,” Plibersek said in a March 20 statement.
Australia has less than 1% of the world’s population, but is home to about 8% of the world’s flora and fauna.
“Australia is recognized as one of only 17 highly diverse countries in the world, and with results like this, it’s easy to see why,” she said.
These discoveries were celebrated with Taxonomists Appreciation Day on 19 March, paying tribute to the work of scientists in naming, classifying and describing Australia’s unique biodiversity.
“I want to thank everyone who has helped us discover, name and better understand our amazing plants and animals,” said Privasek.
“These scientists have classified tiny crabs, new species of cicadas, and corals swaying on reefs on the ocean floor, just to name a few.”
A ferocious parasitic wasp from South Australia, Glyptapanteles anda mookaensiswas also found.
Larvae are injected into live caterpillars, and when hatched, the larvae emerge from the host.
Taxonomy, the science of classifying species, names species to make it easier for researchers, citizen scientists, and conservationists to talk about and study the exact species.
“Scientists have only documented 30% of all species on Earth, so it’s no surprise that hidden species are still being discovered,” he said.
“We can’t protect endangered species if we don’t know what they are and where they live. It helps us see their future.”
New Giant Spider Species
News of dozens of new species comes after Queensland museum scientists announced They discovered a rare giant trapped spider, about the size of a mouse.
Scientists published in The Journal of Arachnology say they have named the new species Euoplos dinitas As a tribute to its large size.
“The name comes from Latin dinitas It means ‘dignity or greatness’ and is reflected in the spider’s impressive size and disposition,” said Michael Rix, chief scientist at the Queensland Museum and lead author of the paper.
However, these spiders live in the open forest areas of the Queensland hinterland, have been destroyed by human development over 150 years and are now one of Queensland’s most endangered species. Some are included.
“The species is known from only a few sites around Isvold and Mont in central Queensland and is endangered because much of its habitat has been lost to land clearing. Likely,” Ricks said.
The Australian Bioprospect has recorded the names of 626 new species, along with 150,000 known native species.