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New species of 2014: Part II

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Update: 2014-05-23 05:49:00
New species of 2014: Part II

Orange penicillium
Penicillium vanoranjei

Although it has spores of a bright orange colour (see inset), this species of penicillium, the fungus from which penicillin is derived, was actually named to honour Dutch royalty, His Royal Highness the Prince of Orange. It was discovered in soil excavated in Tunisia.

Amoeboid Protist
Spiculosiphon oceana

This single-celled organism measures a whopping 4cm to 5cm (1.5 inches to 2 inches) in height, a massive size for its kind. It is a kind of foraminifera, which is a category of amoeboid that builds a protective shell from found items, and it dwells beneath the Mediterranean Sea.

It was initially thought to be a sponge for its peculiar behaviour: it collects skeletal fragments of dead sponge from the seabed and glues them to itself with a sort of protein glue similar to that used by sponges. It also feeds like a sponge, extending arms to collect and feed on tiny invertebrates that have become trapped in the spines.

Cape Melville Leaf-Tailed Gecko
Saltuarius eximius

This pretty gecko, discovered in and unique to Australia's Melville Range on Cape Melville, is distinctive for its mottled camouflage colouring, slender body, longer limbs and large eyes. 

It lives in rocky habitats and trees in rainforests, and measures about 20cm (7.8 inches) in length. It's believed to be a relic species from a time when rainforests were more common in Australia.

Tinkerbell Fairyfly
Tinkerbella nana

It doesn't look a lot like the popular character from Peter Pan, and it's not even really a fly: the The fairyfly family that derives its name from its delicately fringed wings, is actually a family of parasitoid wasps. The Tinkerbell Fairyfly is one of the 1,400-member strong family's smallest members, measuring just 250 micrometers in length, and dwells in the forests of Costa Rica. Although its host is unknown, it presumably lives no longer than just a few days.

Domed Land Snail
Zospeum tholussum

This teeny tiny snail may look like the glass shells you can buy for your pet hermit crab, but it's actually a land-dweller, living deep in the Lukina Jama-Trojama caves of Croatia some 900 metres (nearly 3000 feet) beneath the Earth's surface -- in complete darkness.

It's only 2mm in length, and only one living specimen was found, in a large cavern with a small stream of running water nearby; however, many shells of dead snails were also found in the area. Researchers guess that these tiny animals, which move very slowly on land -- perhaps only as much as a few centimetres a week -- travel in water or on other cave-dwelling animals for longer trips.

BDST: 1520 HRS MAY 23, 2014

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