Research into the interlinks between biodiversity patterns, processes, threats, conservation and human welfare

On the number of species on Earth and in the ocean

A larger selection of photos can be found HERE

Below are some of the thousands of new species described each year, per FIGURE 2 in the PLoS Biology paper.
Media using these photos must credit the photographer as indicated. Click on a photo to download it in high resolution.


Photo Credit: David Hall
Please contact the author ( for uses other than the cover of the Journal PLoS Biology
Species Name: Histiophyrne psychedelica
Described by: Pietsch, Arnold & Hall, 2009
An earlier specimen was collected in 1992 and misidentified as Histiophryne cryptacanthus. The specimen was preserved and placed on a shelf. No one returned to it until a recent rediscovery in 2008 when DNA analysis clarified the species as new and its description made the headlines of news outlets worldwide .


Photo Credit: Alejandro Arteaga
Species Name: Pristimantis gagliardoi
Described by: Lehr, Moravec & Gagliard, 2010
The species was collected in the high Andes of southeastern Ecuador.


Photo Credit: Yoshihiro Fujiwara/JAMSTEC
Species Name: Vigtorniella sp.
A possible new species of polychaete worm. It was collected at the whale fall sampling habitat in Sagami Bay at a depth of 925 meters.


Photo Credit: Jeremy Miller
Species Name: Eriauchenius ambre
Described by: Wood 2008
This species from the family Archaeidae was discovered along with nine other new species of spiders in Madagascar. The species are characterized by their unusually long necks and jaws and that they eat other spiders.


Photo Credit: Dario Sanches
Species Name: Thalurania nigricapilla
Described by: Valdés & Schuchmann, 2009


Photo Credit: Eric Guinther
Species Name: Scolopendra sp


Photo Credit: Marsh Youngbluth
Species Name: Bathocyroe fosteri
Described by: Madin & Harbison, 1978


Photo Credit: Franco Folini
Species Name: Harpaphe haydeniana
Described by: Wood, 1864


Photo Credit: Heloise Chenelot
Species Name: Aleutihenricia federi
Described by: Clark & Jewett, 2010
This new species of sea star was photographed off Green Island, Bay of Isles, Adak Island at a depth of 16 meters.


Photo Credit: Derek Siveter
Species Name: Galeaplumosus abilus
Described by: Hou, Aldridge, Siveter, Williams, Zalasiewicz & Ma, 2011
This new species hemichordate is a fossil that lived on Earth some 525 million years ago.


Photo Credit: Shipher Wu
Species Name: Herochroma supraviridaria
Described by: Inoue, 1999


Photo Credit: Paulo Canorus
Species Name: Neofelis diardi
Described by: World Wildlife Fund, 2007
Genetic research results clearly indicate that the clouded leopard of Borneo should be considered a separate species.


Photo Credit: Brockhaus & Efron
Species Name: Mesozoa sp.


Photo Credit: Yoshihiro Fujiwara, JAMSTEC
Species Name: Alviniconcha sp.
This snail inhabits deep-sea hydrothermal vents and harbors chemoautotrophic symbionts in its gills. This individual, found at the Sulyo Seamount, Tokyo hydrothermal vent, is probably a new species. Only a single specimen has been discovered to date.


Photo Credit: Gaetan Borgonie
Species Name: Halicephalobus mephisto
Described by: Borgonie, García-Moyano, Litthauer, Bert, Bester, van Heerden, Möller, Erasmus & Onstott, 2011
This species was found in the deep subsurface biosphere, over three kilometers into the Earth’s crust. Its discovery challenged the paradigm that this harsh environment was unique to single-cell organisms and had important implications for the search for subsurface life on other planets in our Solar System.


Photo Credit: Steve Childs
Species Name: Pycnogonid sp.


Photo Credit: Alejandro Arteaga
Species Name: Microlophus indefatigabilis
Described by: Benavides, Baum, Snell & Snell, 2009
This species found on the Galapagos Islands was designated as a new species based on DNA analysis. It could have arrived on the island some two million years ago.


Photo Credit: Gaetan Borgonie
Species Name: Polyarthra