Even in this modern age of discovery, there are so many wonderful, mysterious secrets to unlock to this beautiful planet of ours.
Whether it’s in the darkest depths of the ocean, or lush, tropical rain-forests, there are many strange creatures that exist, waiting to be discovered by humankind.
Here’s a little pop-quiz for ya! Do you know how many living species are estimated to still remain undiscovered? (drumroll)
According to Quentin Wheeler, founding director of the Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University, only two million of an estimated 10 to 12 million living species have been identified to date. Let that sink in for a moment. If that isn’t a humbling dose of reality, I don’t know what is.
Of course, the majority of those undiscovered species include insects, plants, fungi and microbes, but even if 1% of those species yet to be discovered are mammals, that’s still 90,000 mystery mammals roaming out there!
Below is a list of 18 birds, animals and creepy crawlies that we’re willing to wager most of you have never even heard of. They range from beautiful, to weird, to #17 which is downright freakish, but they’re all equally fascinating.
How many of these creatures do you know about already?
1) Sea Pig
Scotoplanes live on deep ocean bottoms, specifically on the abyssal plain in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean, typically at depths of over 1000 meters. They are deposit feeders, and obtain food by extracting organic particles from deep-sea mud.
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This mammal is native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. Despite the zebra-like stripes, it is actually more closely related to giraffes.
3) Thorny Dragon
Colored in camouflaging shades of desert browns, this lizard has a “false” head, which he presents to his predators by dipping the real one.
This large stork-like bird gets its name because of the shape of its beak. Even though it was already known to ancient Egyptians and Arabs, the bird was only classified in the 19th century
5) Indian Purple Frog
Found in India, this species of frog have a bloated body and an unusually pointy snout; it only spends two weeks a year on the surface of earth, leaving the underground for mating.
6) Blue Parrotfish
This bright blue fish can be found in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and spends 80% of its time searching for food.
7) Bush Viper
Being a carnivore predator, the Bush Viper lives up in the trees of the tropical forests of Africa, and does most of its hunting at night
8) Saiga Antelope
This saiga, spread around the Eurasian steppe, is known for its an extremely unusual, over-sized, flexible nose structure, the proboscis.
9) Glaucus Atlanticus
Also known as the blue dragon, this creature is a species of blue sea slug. You can find it in warm waters of the oceans. it normally floats on the surface because of a gas-filled sac in its stomach.
10) Pacu Fish
You probably don’t need much explanation as to why the residents of Papua New Guinea call this fish a “ball cutter.” The local fishermen were really worried about the safety of their testicles when they had to get in the water!
11) Venezuelan Poodle Moth
Discovered in Venezuela in 2009, this new species of alien-looking moth is still poorly explored. Waiting for more info about them!
12) Hummingbird Hawk-Moth
As this hawk-moth feeds on flowers and makes a similar humming sound, it looks a lot like a hummingbird. What’s interesting is that it is surprisingly good at learning colors.
13) Mantis Shrimp
Also called the “sea locusts“, “prawn killers” and even “thumb splitters”, this is one of the most common predators in tropical and sub-tropical waters; little is known about them because of how much time they spend hiding in their burrows.
14) Umbonia Spinosa
These thorn bugs are related to cicadas, and use their beaks to pierce plant stems to feed upon their sap. Their strange appearance still poses many questions to scientists
15) Penis Snake
This, uhm… peculiar eyeless animal is actually called Atretochoana eiselti. It is a large, presumably aquatic, caecilian amphibian with a broad, flat head and a fleshy dorsal fin on the body
16) Panda Ant
The Mutillidae are a family of more than 3,000 species of wasps (despite the names) whose wingless females resemble large, hairy ants. Found in Chile, they are known for their extremely painful stings, hence the common name cow killer or cow ant. Black and white specimens are sometimes known as panda ants due to their hair coloration resembling that of the Chinese giant panda.
17) Goblin Shark
Goblin sharks inhabit around the world at depths greater than 100 m (330 ft), with adults found deeper than juveniles. Given the depths at which it lives, the goblin shark poses no danger to humans.
18) Red-lipped Batfish
Found on the Galapagos Islands, this fish is actually a pretty bad swimmer, and uses its pectoral fins to walk on the bottom of the ocean.
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