The International Institute for Species Exploration, an organization new to me, has named the Top 10 Species of the Year (the full list, with photos and desriptions, is here). These were all discovered in 2009, and are pretty cool. They include the Attenborough’s Pitcher from the Philippines, an “udderly weird” yam, a fanged minnow, a penis-shaped mushroom from São Tomé, the island where we work, and, of course, the fantastically colored frogfish. We’ve met Histiophryne psychedelica before, but there’s a new video that shows its weird “hopping” behavior.
And here is Phallus drewesii, a new stinkhorn mushroom from São Tomé. Named after Robert Drewes, curator of herpetology at the Cal Academy, this species was the subject of a segment on NPR’s “Wait wait, don’t tell me.”
Just for perspective, in 2008—the last year for which data are available—18,225 new living species were described, along with 2,140 fossil ones. What a bounty! Let’s not blow it.