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

On the number of species on Earth and in the ocean

Below you will find a selection of photos that can be used under creative commons (i.e. use it as far as you acknowledge the photographer). Owners of copyrighted photos granted permission to use their photos only if the photographer`s name appears with the published photo. Click on the photos to get the original size files.

The artwork below is from the 1904 book Kunstformen der Natur "Art Forms of Nature" by Ernst Haeckel . Haeckel´s work include over 100 detailed, multi-colour illustrations of animals and sea creatures, in one of the first large descriptions of new species. The work of art itself is in the public domain because it has passed the 70 year old mark for copyright. More portraits can be found HERE

Credit: Ernst Haeckel

Credit: Ernst Haeckel

Credit: Ernst Haeckel

A selection of the thousands of new species described every year

Photo Credit: International Rice Research Institute (
Species Name: Oryza officinalis
Described by: Wall, unknown date
Yet to be discovered and catalogued, scientists estimate, are between 74,000 and 90,000 plant species, some of which may help increase world food production, according to the PLoS Biology commentary by Lord Robert May of Oxford. This wild rice, for example, photographed in the Philippines, inherently resists pests and diseases and tolerates extreme environmental conditions and its genes are used to improve cultivated rice varieties.

Photo Credit: Enrique MacPherson
Species Name: Kiwa hirsuta
Described by: Macpherson, Jones & Segonzac, 2006
This decapod, which is approximately 15 cm long, was found 1,500 km south of Easter Island at a depth of 2,200m, living on hydrothermal vents. The organism was deemed to form a new biological family (Kiwaidae).

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: 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: 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: 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: Carlos Moura, CENSAM-Universidad de Aveiro
Species Name: Tubiclavoides striatum
Described by: Moura, Cunha & Schuchert, 2007
This new genus and new species of hydroid has been found to be common in the Gulf of Cadiz. Colonies were observed fixed on carbonate chimneys, coral debris, a polychaete tube, a sponge and another hydrozoan species. The widespread and frequent occurrence of this new species suggests that it is an important and regular faunal element of the deep-sea fauna of the northeast Atlantic.

Photo Credit: Brooke et al, NOAA-OE, HBOI
This is believed to be a new species of a commensal amphipod

Photo Credit: NOAA
Species Name: Tiburonia granrojo
Described by: Matsumoto et al., 2003
This jellyfish can grow up to three meters (almost 10 feet) in diameter.

Photo Credit: Jorge Almeida
Species Name: Tethina lusitanica
Described by: Munari, Almeida & Andrade, 2009

Photo Credit: Josiah Townsend
Species Name: Chrysina cavei
Described by: Hawks & Bruyea, 1999

Photo Credit: Shipher Wu
Species Name: Alcis taiwanovariegata
Described by: Sato, 2008

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

Photo Credit: Shipher Wu
Species Name: Anaplectoides fuscivirens
Described by: Sugi, 1995

Photo Credit: Josiah Townsend
Species Name: Anolis morazani
Described by: Townsend & Wilson, 2009

Photo Credit: Muzaffar Bukhari
Species Name: Lanius schach
Described by: Linnaeus, 1758
One the first species described 250 years ago by Linneus

Photo Credit: Risso Romain
Species Name: Pycnonotus hualon
Described by: Woxvold, Duckworth & Timmins, 2009

Photo Credit: Reynaldo da Fonseca
Species Name: Myiopagis olallaii
Described by: Coopmans & Krabbe, 2000

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

Photo Credit: John Benson
Species Name: Loxia sinesciuris
Described by: Benkman, 2009

Photo Credit: Gossip Guy
Species Name: Stachyris nonggangensis
Described by: Fang & Aiwu, 2008

Photo Credit: Museum Wales
Species Name: Sorbus cambrensis
First found in 1874 and classed as Grey-leaved Whitebeam, recent biochemical analysis has shown this to be a new species

Photo Credit: Museum Wales
Species Name: Sorbus leighensis
A new species which has been known since the 1980s, but whose differences from the Grey-leaved Whitebeam has only recently been clarified using DNA

Photo Credit: Museum Wales
Species Name: Sorbus scannelliana
A new species first confirmed as distinct in September 2008

Photo Credit: Robert Lee
Species Name: Okenia felis
Described by: Gosliner, 2010

Photo Credit: NOAA
This undescribed nudibranch was photographed in 2002 at the Davidson Seamount at depths of 1,497– 2,342 m. At 2008, it had not yet been formally described.

Photo Credit: Steve Childs
Species Name: Halgerda batangas
Described by: Carlson & Hoff, 2000

Photo Credit: Arie DeJong,
Species Name: Gramma dejongi
Described by: Victor & Randall, 2010

Photo Credit: Keri Wilk,
Species Name: Emblemariopsis carib
Described by: Victor 2010

Photo Credit: Keri Wilk
Species Name: Elacatinus rubrigenis
Described by: Victor 2010

Photo Credit: CSIRO
A new species of Marginaster seastar was the first deep-sea Australian species in the genus

Photo Credit: CSIRO
A new species of Trichopeltarion crab - a group of deepsea crabs, this species is restricted to seamounts in southeastern Australia

Photo Credit: Nobu Tamura
Species Name: Crocodylus anthropophagus
Described by: Brochu, Njau, Blumenschine & Densmore, 2010
This is an extinct species recently described.

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: Alejandro Arteaga
Species Name: Pristimantis bambu
Described by: Arteaga-Navarro & Guayasamin, 2011
The proccess of describing this species took two years since the specimen was first collected.

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: Alejandro Arteaga
Species Name: Enyalioides laticeps
Described by: Guichenot, 1855
This species was originally described in 1855, but has been re-identified multiple times and thus has multiple names. In taxonomy, this phenomenon is called synonymy, which is a considerable problem with multiple causes and hard to control as it requires major revisions of all known species.

Photo Credit: Alejandro Arteaga
Species Name: Dipsas catesbyi
Described by: Sentzen, 1796
A species with up to 10 synonyms.

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: Zina Deretsky
Species Name: Lophocebus kipunji
Described by: Ehardt et al. 2005

Photo Credit: Blair Hedges
Species Name: Leptotyphlops carlae
Described by: Hedges, 2008
This species is the smallest snake species currently known to exist.

Photo Credit: Blair Hedges
Species Name: Sphaerodactylus ariasae
Described by: Hedges & Thomas, 2001
Here is one of the two smallest reptile species known to exist.

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

Photo Credit: Eric Guinther
Species Name: Scolopendra sp

Photo Credit: Gaetan Borgonie
Species Name: Polyarthra

Photo Credit: Steve Childs
Species Name: Pycnogonid sp.

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

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: Antonina Rogacheva
Species Name: Elpidia belyaevi
Described by: Rogacheva, 2007
This is a new species of sea cucumber from the Arctic deep sea.