It wasn’t all bad news in 2022, there was a long list of species that were discovered or rediscovered, and that revived hope for nature conservation.
The tree of life that shelters all the species discovered by humans is an incomplete puzzle. It is made up of millions of species that science has managed to catalog, and yet there is still much to be discovered in nature. In 2022 some of the species that were thought to be gone reappeared, and many others were just discovered. Here is the list.
The species, endemic to Ohio, has been considered gone since 1939, at least, locally, meaning that no sightings of the fire goby or fire dartfish have been reported in more than 80 years. However, new reports point out that the species is still alive. The Ohio Division of Wildlife (OWD) said last January that fire dartfish had been sighted in its rivers, a rediscovery that gives wildlife conservationists some hope.
Blanket octopuses are perhaps the most beautiful octopods in existence, but they are extremely rare and long believed to be gone. But in early 2022 marine biologist, Jacinta Shackleton was fortunate enough to experience a sighting of a blanket octopus off the coast of the Great Barrier Reef. The biologist shared her joy on social media along with photos of the octopus and also said that only three of these octopuses have been seen in the region.
Rose-veiled Fairy Wrasse
This rainbow-colored fish was discovered last March and was named rose-veiled fairy wrasse (Cirrhilabrus finifenmaa). The creature was found 1,000 kilometers off the Chagos Archipelago in the Maldives. The creature is rainbow-colored, which is strange since it lives in the twilight zone of the Maldives, where sunlight begins to fade. Previously, such specimens had been observed but had been mistaken for an adult version of the red velvet fairy, although it is now known if they are two separate species.
In September 2021, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared the ivory-billed woodpecker gone forever. But in April 2022, a group of explorers in the Louisiana marshes managed to hear the species’ characteristic holata trumpet song and later managed to get an actual sighting. After all, it seems that the ivory-billed woodpecker still has many stories to tell in the wild.
The Kentriodontid and the Squalodelphinid Dolphin
Researchers at the University of Zurich made an astonishing discovery when they found two families of dolphins unknown to science. They are species that inhabited the waters of what we now know as Switzerland. To classify them, the researchers compared ear bone fossils with different species of whales and dolphins that inhabited the area thousands of years ago. This research led to the discovery of two previously unknown species, the kentriodontid and the squalodelphinid dolphins. And although these specimens no longer swim in Swiss waters, it was a discovery of great value.
The Wakatobi sunbird
Irish and Indonesian zoologists living on the small island of Wakatobi made an amazing discovery in October 2022. It is the Wakatobi sunbird whose scientific name is Cinnyris infrenatus. The species is very similar to a hummingbird; it has blue feathers on the neck, yellow on the belly, and brown feathers on the back and top of the head. It is called a sunbird because, like hummingbirds, Cinnyris infrenatus boasts iridescence, which means that they change the shades of its feathers in the sun, which gives them a kind of glow.
Story originally published in Spanish in Ecoosfera