Top 12 New Species Discovered in 2012

Meet the amazing, beautiful and weird mammals, birds, insects, fishes, arthropods, sponges, amphibians and crustaceans discovered in 2012.

Lesula monkey (Cercopithecus lomamiensis)

Cercopithecus lomamiensis (Maurice Emetshu)

Cercopithecus lomamiensis is a new species of monkey found in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Kayan loris (Nycticebus kayan)

This is the Kayan loris (Ch’ien Lee /

Nycticebus kayan is a new species of slow loris that is endemic tothe island of Borneo in Indonesia. The species was originally thought to be Nycticebus menagensis. These creatures are nocturnal and have a toxic bite.

Spangled darter (Etheostoma obama)

The Spangled darter, Etheostoma obama (Layman SR / Mayden RL / via Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute,

Etheostoma obama is a new species of darter from the Duck and the Buffalo rivers, both in Tennessee.
The species was named after Barack Obama for his work in the areas of clean energy and environmental protection.

Harp sponge (Chondrocladia lyra)

The harp sponge, Chondrocladia lyra, is found off the coast of California at depths between 10,800 – 11,500 feet; or 3,300 – 3,500 m (© MBARI)

Chondrocladia lyra is a new species of carnivorous sponge. The species was named the harp sponge, because its basic structure is shaped like a lyre or harp. These weird creatures snare their prey with barbed hooks that cover the sponge’s branching limbs. Once the sponge has its prey in its clutches, it envelops the animal in a thin membrane, and then slowly begins to digest it.

Camiguin hawk-owl (Ninox leventisi) and Cebu hawk-owl (Ninox rumseyi)

The Cebu Hawk owl, left, and a pair of Camiguin Hawk owls (Christian Artuso / R. O. Hutchinson, via Rasmussen et al., Forktail)

Ninox leventisi and Ninox rumseyi are two new species of owls from the Philippines.

Sira barbet (Capito fitzpatricki)

The Sira Barbet (Michael Harvey)

Capito fitzpatricki is a colorful, fruit-eating bird endemic to the remote Peruvian Andes. The species has a black mask, pale belly and scarlet breast.

Loureedia spiders

This is the velvet spider Loureedia annulipes from Tel Krayot, Israel (Martin Forman)

A new genus of velvet spider was discovered and named after Lou Reed, an American rock musician and songwriter. The image above shows the velvet spider Loureedia annulipes found in Tel Krayot, Israel.

Insulamon palawanense

New species of the colorful freshwater crab Insulamon palawanense (Hendrik Freitag)

Insulamon palawanense is a new species of freshwater crab found on the Philippine island of Palawan.

Paedophryne amanuensis

Paedophryne amanuensis on U.S. dime (Christopher Austin et al/PloS One)

Paedophryne amanuensis is the world’s tiniest known frog and vertebrate. The species is endemic to Central Province, Papua New Guinea.

Myrmekiaphila tigris

A female specimen of Myrmekiaphila tigris (J. Bond)

Myrmekiaphila tigris is a new trapdoor spider species discovered in a well-developed housing subdivision in the heart of the city of Auburn, Alabama. The species belongs to a genus that contains 11 other species of trapdoor spider found throughout the eastern United States.

Megalara garuda

An adult male Megalara garuda (Lynn Kimsey / Michael Ohl)

Megalara garuda is a giant and unusual wasp species found during an expedition to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. The wasp has enormous body size – up to 34 mm long.