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  • SECRETS OF THE WILD

GROWING FAMILY: 6 SPECIES IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T KNOW EXISTED

If you thought scientists had already discovered every animal ever out there, because it’s 2014… you’re clearly wrong. It’s true that we live in an age where a lot of the Earth has been photographed and analyzed, but that doesn’t mean we have revealed all of Mother Nature’s secrets. The animal kingdom for example keeps surprising us with newfound species; new ones are being discovered all the time and scientist believe that there are still many, many more species yet to be discovered.
And because animals are so fascinating, here’s a list of six of them that are definitely going to cause you wonder and whose existence could be unknown to most of you. 

6. Sweet-singing Frog
It sounds kind of poetic. This little frog here doesn’t attract other females with repetitive croaks like most male frogs do, this one actually sings. No two calls of the Gracixalus quangi are identical, and they mix clicks, whistles and chirps into their songs. Scientists discovered this little songster in a nature reserve in northern Vietnam.

5. Leaf-tailed Gecko
This kind of Gecko can be found in Madagascar and some surrounding islands There are currently 14 recognized species, and they all have in common the flat, leaf-like tail that gives them their name. Excellent at camouflage thanks to their skin, which resembles tree bark or leaves, they belong to the genus Uroplatus and their size ranges from about 10cm to more than 30cm, depending on the species. Fun fact: One of the species is called the Satanic leaf-tailed Gecko, Uroplatus phantasticus.
Another group of leaf-tailed geckos live in Australia and look similar though they are not closely related.

4. Domed Land Snail
Behold a snail “slower than a snail”, scientists say. This new species of land snail (Zospeum tholussum) was found nearly 3,000 feet below the surface in the Lukina Jama-Trojama caves in Croatia. Oh, and it’s also almost transparent. The snail lacks eyes, since it doesn’t need them in the caves, and according to researchers, they creep only a few millimeters or centimeters a week. For longer distances, they may travel by riding water currents or by hitching a ride on other cave dwellers such as like bats or crickets.

3. Tinkerbell Fairyfly
Tinkerbella nana—even if the name sounds pretty and reminds you of Peter Pan’s little blonde fairy friend, this is actually a wasp we’re talking about. This newly discovered parasitic wasp was found in the rainforests of Costa Rica, measures 250 micrometers (two and half times the width of a human hair!) and its wings are feathery and delicate. It’s still a wasp though.

2. Yoda Bat
Its name, that is… yes. A tube-nosed fruit bat with a striking resemblance to Yoda was found in a remote rainforest in Papua New Guinea along with about 200 other species. We still know little about it, only that it belongs to the genus Nyctimene and likely plays an important role in dispersing seeds in the forest—according to scientists at Conservation International, one of the organizations that participated in the New Guinea research expeditions.

1. Skeleton Shrimp
Once again it’s proved we’ll find all sorts of things in the depths of the ocean. This one looks creepy, is omnivorous, but actually (thankfully) harmless to humans. The skeleton shrimp (Liropus minusculus) is only a few millimeters long—3.3mm when it comes to the males, 2.1mm the females. Named after their slender, translucent bodies, they belong to the family Caprellidae and aren’t in fact shrimps—they are a kind of crustaceans known as amphipods.
And if this got you interested and you want to know more about fascinating and strange animals and their behaviour, tune in to Secrets of the Wild, premiering in October on Nat Geo.
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