Published December 16, 2017
About 18,000 new species were discovered and named in 2017—so how could we possibly choose favorites? Well, with the help of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s International Institute for Species Exploration, we've narrowed down our top picks. Check them out below!
Don't put Eriovixia gryffindori on your head. The newly discovered spider is named after the fictional wizard Godric Gryffindor in the Harry Potter series because of the arachnid’s resemblance to the Sorting Hat, but it can't sort you into a Hogwarts house. Found in India, the spider is less than a tenth of an inch long and might use its leaf-like shape as camouflage.
The Vangunu giant rat, found on the Solomon Islands, is four times the size of a city rat. Locals had known for years about the existence of this two-pound treedweller, but in 2017 scientists officially documented the first of its kind when it crashed down with a logged tree. The good news? This new species could help protect the forest in which it lives.
Named after a certain dragon on a TV show, the Drogon ant from Papua New Guinea has dragon-like spikes. Scientists think some of its spines are used to attach the ant’s extra-large mandible muscles to its body.
Photo credits (top to bottom): Sumukha J N; Velizar Simeonovski, Field Museum of Natural History; Image courtesy of Marcelo R. de Carvalho; OIST
Text by Allyson Shaw, National Geographic Staff
See more of Earth’s strangest creatures in Animal Ark!
Take a look at the species that topped the list in previous years.