Sneezing Monkeys, SpongeBob Mushrooms, and Giant Millipedes: ASU Names Top 10 New Species of 2012

In celebration of long-gone Carolus Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist who created modern system of plants and animal names and classifications, The International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University and a committee of scientists from around the world announced its top 10 new species discovered in 2011.

Brace yourself: This year's list includes some of the nastiest and strangest animals, plants, and bugs from Brazil, Myanmar, the Dutch Caribbean, South Africa, Papua New Guinea, Spain, Borneo, Nepal, China and Tanzania -- and they're bound to make an impression.

10. Rhinopithecus strykeri Common Name: Sneezing Monkey Family: Cercopithecidae How it made the Top 10: Rhinopithecus strykeri is the first snub-nosed monkey to be reported from Myanmar, is critically endangered, and sneezes when it rains.

9. Tamoya ohboya

Sneezing Monkeys, SpongeBob Mushrooms, and Giant Millipedes: ASU Names Top 10 New Species of 2012
(Photo credit: Ned DeLoach)

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Common Name: Bonaire Banded Box Jelly Family: Tamoyidae How it made the Top 10: The box jelly was named by a high school biology teacher who assumed the first people who encountered the species must have said, "Oh Boy!" when they first spotted the species near the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire. Watch the Tamoya ohboya swim here.

8. Halicephalobus mephisto

Sneezing Monkeys, SpongeBob Mushrooms, and Giant Millipedes: ASU Names Top 10 New Species of 2012
(Photo credits left: G. Borgonie, Ghent University, Belgium; Scanning electron microscope (SEM) image, face view of H. mephisto; cneter: G. Borgonie, Ghent University, Belgium; glass beads where nematodes were found living in the brownish colored bacterial biofilm; right: Esta Van Heerden, University of the Free State, South Africa; Borehole water from the Beatrix gold mine where H. mephisto was discovered)

Common Name: Devil's Worm Family: Panagrolaimidae How it made the Top 10: The nematode is the deepest-living terrestrial multicellular organism that was discovered in a South African gold mine. The .5 mm long worm can survive temperatures up to 98.6 degrees and lives in an environment scientists say hasn't been in contact with the earth's atmosphere for the last 4,000 to 6,000 years.

  7. Bulbophyllum nocturnum

Sneezing Monkeys, SpongeBob Mushrooms, and Giant Millipedes: ASU Names Top 10 New Species of 2012
(Photo credit left: Jaap Vermeulen; right: Andre Schuiteman)

Common Name: Night-blooming Orchid Family: Orchidaceae How it made the Top 10: The Bulbophyllum nocturnum has the first night-blooming flowers recorded among the more than 25,000 known species of orchids. The thin, bizarre-looking flowers, found in native New Guinea, start to open around 10 p.m. and close in the morning -- the full bloom lasting only 12 hours.

6. Kollasmosoma sentum

Family: Braconidae How it made the Top 10: The dive-bombing wasp is known for its egg-laying ritual: The tiny parasitic wasps fly just one centemeter above ground, swooping down to deposit eggs in desert ants in less than .05 seconds. The ant's body becomes food for the larvae, which eventually kill the ant as they're born. Video below:

  5. Spongiforma squarepantsii

Sneezing Monkeys, SpongeBob Mushrooms, and Giant Millipedes: ASU Names Top 10 New Species of 2012
(Photo credit: Thomas Bruns, Interior (left) and exterior (right) views of Spongiforma squarepantsii; center: Dennis E. Desjardin & Andrew Ichimura, SEM photograph of spores of Spongiforma squarepantsii)

Common Name: Spongebob Squarepants Mushroom Family: Boletaceae How it made the Top 10: Yep, the species of mushroom is named after cartoon character Spongebob Squarepants, because of its resemblance to and similar behavior of a sponge. Scientists note the mushroom also smells fruity (Spongebob lives in a pineapple); magnified, the texture of the fungus resembles the tube sponges (that cover the seafloor where Spongebob lives); and that even the microscopic spores of the fungus appear spongelike.

4. Meconopsis autumnalis

Sneezing Monkeys, SpongeBob Mushrooms, and Giant Millipedes: ASU Names Top 10 New Species of 2012
(Photo credit: Paul Egan, Meconopsis autumnalis flowering in the wild at 4000 m, Nepal Himalaya)

Common Name: Nepalese Autumn Poppy Family: Papaveraceae How it made the Top 10: The Meconopsis autumnalis is a poppy discovered at an elevation of 10,827 to 13,780 feet in central Nepal. The yellow flower blooms in the autumn monsoon season and can only be reached by hiking miles into the Himalayan wilderness. The recent rediscovery of the poppy in the field was made by intrepid botanists collecting plants miles from human habitation in heavy monsoon rains.

3. Crurifarcimen vagans

Sneezing Monkeys, SpongeBob Mushrooms, and Giant Millipedes: ASU Names Top 10 New Species of 2012
(Photo credit: G. Brovad)

Common Name: Wandering Leg Sausage Family: Pachybolidae How it made the Top 10: Found in Tanzania's Eastern Arc Mountains, the Crurifarcimen vagans or "wandering leg sausage," holds a new record as the largest millipede (16 cm). The millipede is about 1.5 cm in diameter and has more than 56 body segments bearing ambulatory limbs -- each with two pairs of legs.

  2. Walking Cactus

Sneezing Monkeys, SpongeBob Mushrooms, and Giant Millipedes: ASU Names Top 10 New Species of 2012
(Photo credit Jianni Liu "Walking Cactus from Early Cambrian, China")

Family: belongs to the extinct class Xenusia How it made the Top 10: The Walking Cactus might look more like a cactus than an animal, but the armoured Lobopodia had a wormlike bodies, multiple pairs of legs, and its fossils were discovered in the famous Chengjiang deposit in southwest China in Cambrian deposits about 520 million years old.

1. Pterinopelma sazimai

Sneezing Monkeys, SpongeBob Mushrooms, and Giant Millipedes: ASU Names Top 10 New Species of 2012
(Photo credit left: Caroline Fukushima; center and right: Rogerio Bertani/ Instituto Butantan)

Common Name: Sazima's Tarantula Family: Theraphosidae How it made the Top 10: The iridescent blue tarantula is the first new animal species from Brazil to have made it to ASU's Top 10. The Pterinopelma sazimai is not the first blue tarantula, but scientists say it is one of the most striking and "may be especially vulnerable because of its limited distribution in an "ecological island" - a habitat high upon tabletop mountains which have a greater rainfall and different soils than the immediately surrounding area."

Read more about each new species on The International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University website.

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