The Coolest New Animal Species Discovered In 2016

2016 will be remembered for many things, from the good, the bad, to the ugly and that’s just talking about the new animals discovered by science.

So, as we wave goodbye (or perhaps good riddance) to the year, here’s a breakdown of the brightest, boldest, weirdest, coolest, and most interesting species thathave either been recently discovered or described in scientific papers during 2016.

Ziggy Stardust Snake

This new species of snakewas discovered amongthe cliffs of northern Laos in Southeast Asia.Inhomageto the late David Bowie who passed away in 2016, this glamrock oddity with psychedelicscales has been named Ziggy Stardust.

“The snake and I, the venom high.”Alexandre Teynie/WWF

Harry Potter Sorting Hat Spider

Among the manyfantastic beasts discovered this year, one 7-millimeter-long spider namedEriovixia gryffindoricaptured more hearts and imaginations than any.

Indian scientists discovered a spiderwithan uncanny resemblance to the sorting hat used to sift wizardry students into their school houses in the Harry Potter universe.Even Harry Potter author JK Rowling was impressed.

Read more about the creaturein the Indian Journal of Arachnology.

Indian Journal of Arachnologyvia Javed Ahmed/Twitter

Spaceship jellyfish

It looks like an extraterrestrial ferris-wheel, but thisalien-like hydromedusalives nearly as far from outer space as you can on Earth. It was foundat a depth of around 3,700 meters (12,100 feet) in the MarianaTrench an underwater regionthat contains the deepest known part of the sea. Check out the video of its discovery by NOAA here.

The deeper you go, the stranger they seem to become…

NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

Four-Penised Millipede

2016 was also the year that IFLSciencefound its own spirit animal: Illacme tobini, a millipede with 414 legs, no eyes, 200 poison glands, and four penises, as described in the journal ZooKeys.

Paul Marek/Virginia Tech via ZooKeys


Camouflage is a tried and tested method of survival found throughout the animal kingdom, but this newly discovered spider andleaf look-a-likeis a particularly awesome demonstration of it. Describedin the Journal of Arachnology, the researchers explain how this sneaky arachnid evolved to appear like a bunch of dead and alive leaves.

Matja Kuntner

A New Species Of Fish-Eating Spider

Nobody is safe from spiders not even fish. In freshwater streams of Queensland, Australia, scientists discovered a new species of fish-eating spiderthat can kill prey up to five times itsown body size viaa bunch of powerful poisons.

Queensland Museum

Teeny, Weeny Doomed Salamanders

Scientists recently described three unbelievably tiny and cute species of salamander fromthe genus Thorius,foundin the mountainous forests of Oaxaca in Mexico. But dont fall in love with these tiny critters too soon, theyre quickly heading towards extinction.

Two similar species from the genusThorius, of which the newly discovered species are from. Used with permission from James Hanken.

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