pufferfish

The ocean is full of a massive array of undiscovered species, so scientists are always finding new types of creatures lurking offshore. The circle-making pufferfish discovered in 2013 are one great example of a species mankind only recently encountered for the first time.

But you don’t have to take our word for it — the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) even included it in their 2015 Top Ten New Species list!

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The white-spotted pufferfish, whose scientific name is Torquigener albomaculosus, creates nearly perfect circles on the ocean floor to attract mates. While the circles were first discovered by divers in 1995, no one knew what was creating them until the actual fish were found in 2013. Also joining the white-spotted pufferfish from Japan are extremely colorful sea slugs that look like something from Star Trek.

▼ Riker would definitely end up mind-controlled by one of these.

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Discovered in Katetsu Cove near Amami Oshima Island in Japan, the white-spotted pufferfish is one of Japan’s few on the Top Ten New Species list created by the IISE. And this isn’t just any normal list — it’s compiled by taxonomists and people in related fields, so this is according to the people who, better than anyone else, know what the top ten new species are!

▼ And who could argue with their number one pick?

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Joining the white-spotted pufferfish on the list were:

1. Anzu wyliei
A bird-like dinosaur, this creature is described as a “chicken from hell.”

2. Balanophora coralliformis
This endangered, parasitic plant is from the Philippines and draws nutrition from other plants.

3. Cebrennus rechenbergi
Also known as the “cartwheeling spider,” this Moroccan spider literally cartwheels away from danger…or towards it to scare off attackers.

4. Dendrogramma enigmatica
These bizarre multicellular animals may actually be a new phylum, though they seem to be related to animals like jellyfish.

5. Deuteragenia ossarium
Better know as the Bone-house wasp, this insect makes cells in hollow stems for its babies…and gives each cell a dead spider for nutrition.

▼ The bone-house wasp

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6. Limnonectes larvaepartus
This Indonesian frog is unique for giving birth to tadpoles following internal fertilization.

7. Phryganistria tamdaoensis
A giant walking stick, this insect is common in an area many taxonomists visit, but no one had noticed until now!

8. Phyllodesmium acanthorhinum
A colorful sea slug, this aquatic creature was discovered in Okinawa and is thought to be a missing link between two different types of sea slugs.

9. Tillandsia religiosa
Bromeliad, the common name for this entry, is from Mexico and is often used in Christmas displays. Though it has long been known of and used by locals, taxonomists hadn’t documented it until recently.

10. Torquigener albomaculosus
Though last on the list, the white-spotted pufferfish is notable for its mysterious ocean circles that left researchers confused for almost two decades.

▼ The newest addition to the walking stick family

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All these new species serve as a great reminder of just how much remains unknown to us on our own planet and the importance of conservation. So look where you’re walking, or just might step on a new, undiscovered species!

Sources: SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Narinari
Images: Kohollo