Almost a thousand new species of animals were discovered in 2023

In the vast animal kingdom, the discovery and cataloging of new species continue to surprise scientists and wildlife lovers.

The year 2023 was no exception, as it presented a series of fascinating discoveries that expand our understanding of the planet’s biodiversity.

Among the hundreds of newly found species, peculiar creatures stand out, such as the gecko capable of throwing slime and the legless lizard.

Some of the species identified by scientists in 2023

In 2023, scientists from the Natural History Museum in London and the California Academy of Sciences discovered nearly 1,000 new species, revealing the Earth’s persistent untapped richness.

This was the 50th anniversary year of the United States Endangered Species Act, which has protected plants and endangered animals.

Such legislation contributes significantly to the preservation of hundreds of species, according to California Academy of Sciences Executive Director Scott Sampson.

“However, more than a million species remain endangered due to human activities such as habitat destruction, climate change and pollution,” Sampson warned in a statement.

“We must document Earth’s living diversity so we can work to protect it, and the California Academy of Sciences is honored to participate in this critical global effort.”

In 2023, researchers cataloged 968 new species, ranging from previously unknown extinct creatures to beetles, moths, sea slugs, geckos, fish, frogs, spiders, plants, fungi and worms.

Among such discoveries is a legless lizard, belonging to the scincid family, which resembles snakes, inhabiting the forest floor to hunt insects.

These scincids have distinct characteristics, such as external ear openings and movable eyelids.

The new species of reptile was identified gliding down the slopes of Serra da Neve, in Angola, with a pink ring around its neck.

The mountain offers a unique environment, with a special ecosystem due to its isolation. It is located in the far north of the Namib Desert and has a cool and humid climate.

“Every new species we describe on this mountain — and others like it — is evidence that places like this deserve some kind of conservation consideration,” Aaron Bauer, a research associate at the Academy of Sciences, said in a statement.

“We are still finding new species on these isolated ‘islands’, which tells us it is not too late for protection [de fauna e flora]”, concludes the scientist.

In 2023, the British Natural History Museum described 815 new species, of which 619 were different types of wasps.

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Dr. John Noyes and Christer Hansson led the findings, focusing on identifying bees, ants and wasps in Costa Rica. Some of the new species of wasps they displayed metallic tones, such as blue, purple and orange.

In tribute to 60 years of ‘Doctor Who’, Noyes named a genus of wasp in honor of the Daleks, the series’ fictional mutants. Despite their reputation as annoying stinging insects, wasps play a vital role in controlling agricultural pests.

Additionally, Mexican scientists found a rare succulent called Pachyphytum odam, on the slopes of the cliffs of the Sierra Madre Occidental. They named the plant after the local indigenous O’dam community.

Another discovery was the plant Stenostephanus purpureus in Costa Rica, previously confused with a similar species in Mexico for over 150 years.

It displays differences in flowers and pollination methods, suggesting the intervention of hummingbirds in the process.

See below photographs of some of these environmental finds.

Species discovered in 2023 – Images: London Natural History Museum/Reproduction