SCIENCE

Meet An Artistic Fish And The 'Chicken From Hell': The 10 Coolest New Species Of The Year

05/21/2015 02:45 pm ET | Updated May 21, 2015

An artistic fish, a cartwheeling spider and a dinosaur nicknamed the “chicken from hell” round out the list of this year’s “Top 10 New Species.”

The alphabetically-ordered list, published annually by the International Institute for Species Exploration at the State University of New York's College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), highlights some of the most interesting species named within the past year.

ESF says it releases the list in late May to coincide roughly with the birthday of Carl Linnaeus. Born on May 23, 1707, Linnaeus is known as “the father of modern taxonomy” due to his work developing a system for classifying biological organisms.

Our favorite from this year’s list? Probably the sea slug. Slugs just don’t get the attention they deserve.

Check out ESF's top 10 new species of 2015:

  • Anzu wyliei: "Chicken from Hell"
    Mark A. Klingler, Carnegie Museum of Natural History
    The team that named this bird-like dino originally wanted to call it the Latin or Greek version of "chicken from hell," but those didn't sound as good in translation, Matthew Lamanna of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History told the AP.

    Instead, they named the beast after "Anzu," a mythological feathered monster, and Wylie J. Tuttle, the grandson of a Carnegie trustee.

    ESF says the 5-foot-tall, 10-foot-long dinosaur had feathers, hollow bones and a parrot-like beak, and made nests and sat on eggs until they hatched. Partial skeletons of the creature have been found in North and South Dakota.

    ILLUSTRATION: Life reconstruction of the new oviraptorosaurian dinosaur species Anzu wyliei in its roughly 66-million-year-old environment in western North America.
  • Balanophora coralliformis: Coral Plant
    P.B. Pelser & J.F. Barcelona
    This endangered plant is found in the Philippines and is parasitic, meaning it draws nutrients from other living plants. Balanophora coralliformis can be found at elevations between 4,800 and 5,600 feet in mossy forests, according to ESF, which notes that only 50 of these plants are known to exist. The plant is named for its resemblance to corals, which are not plants, but marine animals.

    PHOTO: Branching above-ground tubers and young inflorescences of pistillate plant.
  • Cebrennus rechenbergi: Cartwheeling Spider
    Prof. Dr. Ingo Rechenberg, Technical University Berlin
    This desert-dwelling spider escapes from danger by doing cartwheels, ESF says. The cartwheeling motion allows the arachnid, which can be found in Morocco, to move about twice as quickly as it does when simply running.

    PHOTO: Threatening behavior by the cartwheeling spider.
  • Dendrogramma enigmatica
    Jørgen Olesen
    This multicellular animal was found about 3,200 feet underwater on the sea floor near Australia. Scientists believe it's related to the phyla Cnidaria (jellyfish, corals, sea anemones and hydras) or Ctenophora (comb jellies), according to ESF. Since the animals look so much like Precambrian fossils, the research institute notes that some might consider them "living fossils."

    PHOTO: Dendrogramma enigmatica, lateral and aboral views. Photographs taken after shrinkage.)
  • Deuteragenia ossarium: The Bone-House Wasp
    Michael Staab
    This half-inch long, Chinese wasp stands out for the notable way in which it uses other insects' corpses. The mother wasps construct a ground-level nest with soil and plant debris, then line the nests with the bodies of dead ants. Ecologist Michael Staab told Slate he suspects the smell of the ants creates a sort of chemical camouflage for the nest.

    PHOTO: A female of Deuteragenia ossarium in its natural ecosystem in southeast China.
  • Limnonectes larvaepartus: Indonesian Frog
    Jimmy A. McGuire
    While most frogs lay eggs, this fanged amphibian gives birth to live tadpoles. The frogs were found on Indonesia's Sulawesi Island, but researchers don't know yet what the species' full range is.

    PHOTO: Limnonectes larvaepartus, male (left) and female (right), photographed in the field on Sulawesi.
  • Phryganistria tamdaoensis: Walking Stick
    Dr. Bruno Kneubühler
    This 9-inch stick insect hails from Vietnam, but visitors can see live specimens at the vivarium of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels, according to ESF. Phryganistria tamdaoensis is named after Vietnam's Tam Dao National Park.

    PHOTO: Phryganistria tamdaoensis, female.
  • Phyllodesmium acanthorhinum: Sea Slug
    Robert Bolland
    According to ESF, this slimy wonder is a "missing link" between two types of sea slugs -- those that eat hydroids (small sea creatures related to jellyfish) and those that consume corals. This species is around one inch long and resides off the coast of Japan's Ryukyu Islands.

    PHOTO: Phyllodesmium acanthorhinum.
  • Tillandsia religiosa: Bromeliad
    A. Espejo
    This flowering desert plant has been long known to the locals of Sierra de Tepoztlán, Tlayacapan, San José de los Laureles and Tepoztlán in Mexico, but was only given a formal scientific name in the past year. ESF notes that the pretty bromeliad grows at altitudes between 6,000 and 7,000 feet and is often incorporated into Christmas displays.

    PHOTO: Tillandsia religiosa's habitat.
  • Torquigener albomaculosus: White-Spotted Pufferfish
    Yoji Okata
    This pufferfish resides in the ocean off the coast of Japan's Amami-Ōshima Island. For the past 20 years, scientists had been trying to figure out what was causing the elaborate "crop circle" designs on the ocean floor in the area (pictured in next slide). It turned out the patterns were created by male white-spotted pufferfish, who make the designs with their bodies to attract females. The ridges then double as protection for the fish's eggs.

    PHOTO: A male (right) biting on the left cheek of a female (left) while spawning.
  • Torquigener albomaculosus "crop circle"
    Yoji Okata
    This intricate pattern is the work of Torquigener albomaculosus, or the white-spotted pufferfish, which creates these circles as part of a mating ritual.

    PHOTO: A spawning nest (mystery circle) of Torquigener albomaculosus found 26 meters on a sandy bottom along the south coast of Amami-Oshima Island in the Ryukyu Islands.

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2015's 'Top 10 New Species'
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