Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Top 10 New Species List Released For 2010

Every year new species are being discovered on Spaceship Earth, with 2010 being no exception. 

The strange, the profound, and the downright creepy are found on Arizona State University Institute for Species Exploration top 10 list. 

For example:

The wreck of the Titanic symbolizes maritime tragedy to many, but is now the site of an amazing discovery: a bacterium that feeds on iron oxide, commonly known as rust.  Should we be able to breed this bacteria in labs, it shows potential for practical applications in industrial cleanup projects.

 Halomonas titanicae

This mushroom is remarkable due to the simple fact that it is the only known mushroom to "fruit"-- spread spores-- and spend its life cycle underwater.  Found in Ian Awesome's home state of Oregon, this fungus makes its home under the currents of the Rogue River.

Psathyrella aquatica

Finally, one that I found personally terrifying:  Tyranobdella Rex, the "Tyrant Leech King."  This beast was found eating away at the inside of a little girl's nose in Peru.  Why is it remarkable?  Who the fuck cares, it's a scary mofo with huge teeth.

Tyrannobdella rex

There's an important message to projects like these.  Scientists estimate that all the species discovered since 1758 represent just 20% of the biomass representing life on Earth.  They believe that close to 10 million species remain to be classified before we have an accurate picture of how the overall biosphere works, with species being driven extinct planetwide all the time. 

While some of these new species might be perceived as gross, icky, or pests, it behooves us to understand as much of our home as possible and preserve those critters that we have yet to encounter. 

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