Weird and rare animal discoveries

Weird and rare animal discoveries

Hoodwinker sunfish

This bizarre-looking 2-meter-wide fish baffled locals when it washed up on a beach in California in February. It turned out to be the rare hoodwinker sunfish, which wasn't officially identified until 2017 and had only been spotted in the southern hemisphere waters off near New Zealand and Australia. In fact, it's the first time this creature has been seen in the northern hemisphere in 130 years.

Weird and rare animal discoveries

'Headless chicken sea monster'

Yes, you read that right. A deep-sea swimming sea cucumber dubbed the "headless chicken sea monster" (real name Enypniastes eximia) was filmed swimming off East Antarctica in 2018. It had previously only been filmed in the Gulf of Mexico. Although most sea cucumbers spend their time on the ocean floor, specimens like this one spend their days floating through the ocean, only landing to feed.

Weird and rare animal discoveries

Wallace's giant bee

This isn't your typical honey bee. Thirty eight years after its last sighting, this 3.8 cm (1.5 inch) behemoth (at least by bee standards) was found by scientists in the Indonesian jungle. It was even on the Global Wildlife Conservation's list of the top 25 "most wanted" species. Despite its fearsome-looking jaws, much like its smaller cousins, the bee actually prefers nectar and pollen.

Weird and rare animal discoveries

Giant squid

This creature of the deep likely inspired the myth of the "kraken." But it eluded scientists for decades — the first confirmed photograph of a live giant squid was taken in 2004. The above image is a still from the very first footage of the species in its natural habitat, taken in 2013. It's still not known just how big they can really grow, but the largest recorded specimen measured 13 meters,

Weird and rare animal discoveries

Hog-nosed rat

In 2015, scientists officially confirmed the discovery of a new species of mammal on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. It earned its name thanks to its piglet-like nose, the purpose of which remains a mystery. It also boasts an intimidating set of vampire-like teeth, although its diet mainly revolves around earthworms and beetle larvae.

Weird and rare animal discoveries

Neopalpa donaldtrumpi

This tiny moth was found in Southern California in 2017. But it only gained media attention thanks to it's orange-tinted mop of 'hair', which bears a striking resemblance to US President Donald Trump's hairstyle. So it was given a name to match. Ironically, the moth's habitat extends through to the state of Baja California in Mexico — which could be divided by Trump's proposed border wall.

Weird and rare animal discoveries

Sea toad

There's apparently no better place to discover weird-looking creatures than the depths of the ocean. This rarely photographed sea toad was discovered during a 2009 'Deep Down Under' expedition in Australia's Coral Sea. The bottom-dwelling fish is part of the deep-sea anglerfish family, which are probably best known for dangling a bioluminescent lure in front of their mouth to catch their prey.

Weird and rare animal discoveries

Sciaphila sugimotoi

It might not be an animal, but the discovery of this unique plant in Japan 2017 sparked interest around the world. It's one of the very few species of plant which have essentially abandoned the process of photosynthesis, instead feeding off the roots of host fungi, such as mushrooms or even mould. Flora in Japan is very well documented, making this unexpected discovery particularly special.

Weird and rare animal discoveries

Cave-dwelling beetle

A new species of beetle was found in a cave in Guangxi Province, China in 2018. Its long, compact body, spindly legs and total lack of eyes or wings make it a prime example of a species which has evolved to live its life in complete darkness — also known as convergent evolution.

Weird and rare animal discoveries

Tiny tartigrade

While the microscopic tartigrade has been known to science since 1777, a new species was found in 2018 — in a parking lot in Japan of all places. A researcher plucked a piece of moss from the concrete and took it to the lab for testing. These 'water bears' are known for being practically indestructible and the new species could be descended from an ancient line.

Our planet is brimming with weird and wonderful creatures still waiting to be found. Here are some of the most recent headline-making discoveries which push the boundaries of the animal kingdom as we know it.