This new species of millipede might not look like much, but it has quite the package. Paul Marek, Virginia Tech

Josh Davis 19 May 2017, 21:41

Every year brings a new cohort of species into the encylopedia of life. In the past 12 months, there have been at least 18,000 new species described. This may sound like a lot, but with millions more thought to be living on the planet, this is a mere scratch on the surface.

To celebrate the birthday of the founding father of taxonomy, Carl Linnaeus, every year the College of Environmental Science and Forestry compile a list of their favorite new species discovered over the last 12 months. Here is their selection:

Gryffindor’s Hat (Eriovixia gryffindori)

10 points to Gryffindor! Sumukha J. N.

They may be little, but they’re also just a bit magical. At only 2 millimeters in length, these tiny spiders are the smallest creatures to make the list this year, and do so because of their striking resemblance to the infamous hat once owned by the famed wizard Godric Gryffindor.

Rose-tinted katydid (Eulophophyllum kirki)

All pretty in pink. Peter Kirk

Only one specimen of this beautifully colored insect has ever been found, which uses its incredibly mimicry to blend in with the foliage in which it lives. While the males are a more standard green, the females are resplendent in all their pink finery.

The indiscriminate rat (Gracilimus radix)

Will. Eat. Anything. Kevin Rowe, Museums Victoria

While most rodents are fairly consistently carnivorous, preferring to dine on other animals, this Indonesian cutie wants it all, and is one of the few truly omnivorous rats. Found only on the island of Sulawesi, this beastie is so unusual that it has been placed in its own genus.

No eyes, four penises, and many legs (Illacme tobini)

Small but mighty. Paul Marek, Virginia Tech

Measuring in at just 20 millimeters long and with up to 750 legs, these little millipedes are living proof that it’s not size that counts. Hailing from a long line of millipedes that go back more than 200 million years, these American insects come from good stock.

A fiery contender (Pheidole drogon)

A dragon in miniature. Masako Ogasawara

While this species of ant may not be able to contend with its namesake in size, it sure makes up for it in appearance. The spiky armor of this New Guinean insect reminded the researchers who discovered it so much of Daenerys Targaryen’s rouge dragon that they decided to name the ant after it.

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