hairy blue tarantula

New and Blue

Every year, about 18,000 new species are discovered. That means scientists find up to 50 new species every day.

In Guyana, scientist Andrew Snyder couldn’t see a thing as he walked along the rainforest floor. He turned on his flashlight and saw a flash of blue. A rotting stump was crawling with a dozen huge, blue spiders. They were a new species: hairy blue tarantulas!

Microbes and insects are not the only things out there, though. New species are turning up everywhere.

patch‑nosed salamander

Hiding in Plain Sight

Some new species are right under our noses. A scientist in London, for example, discovered three unknown species of fungus in a package of grocery store mushrooms. The patch‑nosed salamander was discovered near a creek in Georgia.

Why Now?

Scientists are looking at the world in different ways. So, they are finding new species. People are cutting down forests. They are making more roads. As they expand into the wild, they find species that have never been seen before.

New tools like deep‑sea cameras also help them find new species. One example is the Indonesian psychedelic frogfish.

Indonesian psychedelic frogfish


Sometimes a new species can be found by looking at DNA. Scientists at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., were frustrated by a pair of olinguitos. 

They were not producing offspring. The DNA showed that one was an olinguito. However, the other was an olingo— two different species!