In the past few years, thousands of new species have been discovered; previously-thought-to-be-extinct species have been re-discovered; and we’ve learned cool new stuff about species that have been around for a while. These creatures were either hard to reach, were so rare that they weren’t often glimpsed, or were known to locals but not the world at large. And then you have a few that were hiding in plain sight!
We’ve listed a few of the coolest species that that have cropped up in the last several years. Read on!
13. Harry potter wasp
A new species of cockroach wasp was found in Thailand, and they’re a bit… terrifying. They turn cockroaches into zombies. First, the metallic-colored wasp injects neurotoxins into a cockroach. The poison causes the cockroach to lose all control over its movements — but it’s still able to move. Then the wasp latches onto him and drags him back easily back to his burrow… where he eats him. How freaky is that?!
A super-cool aspect of this discovery is how the wasps were named: by public vote. The public was given a few different name options, and one of the suggestions was to name them after the evil beings in the Harry Potter series called dementors. Dementors suck the souls out of their victims but leave them physically alive; in essence, turning them into zombies. The public agreed with the likeness, and now this terrifying wasp has been officially dubbed Ampulex dementor.
Watch this footage to see the zombie process in action! (The video shows a jewel wasp — a close cousin of the dementor wasp.)
12. Cartwheeling Spider
Sometimes, it takes several years between the time of discovery to the new species actually getting named, like this guy: cebrennus rechenbergi, or, the cartwheeling spider. The desert spider was discovered in 2009 in Morocco, but not named until 2014. They grow to between 1/2 an inch and 3/4 of an inch, but when provoked or in danger, they can jump 6.6 feet per second to get away from their enemies (or cartwheel towards them to scare them off). It may just be the music playing in this video, but this guy looks like he’s having the time of his life!