70 New Species

70 new species were discovered in 2021, both flora and fauna. Scientists say it reveals how much of the world is still unexplored. That’s true of course, but perhaps it means something even more relevant. it also shows a planet teeming with life. It reminds us how varied and beautiful and complex life is. The California Academy of Sciences announced these 70 newly discovered species. They include, 14 beetles, 12 sea slugs, nine ants, seven fish, six scorpions, five sea stars, five flowering plants,  four sharks, three spiders, two sea pens, one moss, one pygmy pipe horse and one caecilian. I had to look that one up, it’s  a kind of amphibian. A large number of people were involved in these discoveries which took place on five continents and three oceans. They included  more than a dozen scientists from the Academy along with several dozens international collaborators who searched ocean floors, forests and deserts. The article I read was all the more striking for the pictures of some of these animals.  One new beetle from the mountain top of the Philippines  is decorated like an Easter egg. One feature that made it stand out is its bright colors, since most weevils are a single color. The pygmy pipe horse, a cousin of sea horses, was discovered in New Zealand,  and the scientist use its discovery to remind us how little we know about the reefs of New Zealand. The Blue Guitar fish comes from Madagascar. It is called guitar because it is in the shape of one, sort of, and is a beautiful bright blue. Because they’re so easily fished and because of their proximity to sharks, these fishes could be endangered. Then there is the bright orange fire sea star from the Indo pacific sea area. It is called  Uokeaster ahi, ahi meaning fire in the Rapa Nui language. Sea stars resides in the reefs and scientists explain that they  contribute to healthy coral reefs. If they were removed they say, the ecosystem would be out of balance.

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