Ecology students find two new scorpions among 146 new species discovered in 2022

Adult female Paruroctonus soda with 51 newborn scorpion cubs - California Academy of Sciences / SWNS

Adult female Paruroctonus soda with 51 newborn scorpion cubs – California Academy of Sciences / SWNS

The two new scorpion species found by two teenagers are among 146 new species of animals and plants discovered last year.

Harper Forbes, 19, and Prakrit Jain, 18, both college students, discovered two new scorpions in science.

Budding scientists first spotted the unidentified species while participating in iNaturalist, a joint initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society.

A couple from the Bay Area, California, went into the field to find, collect and finally describe them.

Paruroctonus soda and Paruroctonus conclusus are small, desert scorpions from the dry, salty lake beds of central and southern California.

Bavayia jourdani.  Nearly every mountain in New Caledonia hosts a unique Bavayia gecko, according to scientists - California Academy of Sciences/SWNS

Bavayia jourdani. Nearly every mountain in New Caledonia hosts a unique Bavayia gecko, according to scientists – California Academy of Sciences/SWNS

While P. soda inhabits federally protected areas, P. conclusus can only be found in a narrow strip of unprotected land – about a mile long and only a few feet wide in some places – making the entire species highly vulnerable to human-induced threats.

Mr Forbes said: “An entire species could be wiped out by the construction of a single solar farm, mine or housing estate. Mapping the biodiversity of an area can help determine why that site should be protected.”

Mr. Forbes and Mr. Jain are passionate about ecology and are on a mission to document every species of arachnid in California.

The new species were listed by the California Academy of Sciences, and the new species include fish, stingrays, lizards, spiders, scorpions, and plants.

In total, scientists from the California Academy of Sciences added 44 types of lizards, 30 ants, 14 sea snails, 14 flowering plants, 13 starfish, seven fish, four beetles, four sharks, three moths, three worms, two scorpions, two spiders, two lichens, one toad, one clam, one aphid, and one biscuit for the tree of life.

Dr Shannon Bennett, the academy’s virologist and chief scientist, said: “Research into new species is critical to understanding the diversity of life on Earth and identifying the ecosystems most in need of protection.

“As we saw at the United Nations Conference on Biodiversity (COP15), biodiversity science is at the forefront of global conservation efforts and is critical in uniting nations and equipping them with the tools and information needed to reverse the rate of species extinction by 2030 r.

Rose-veiled Fairy Wrasse, one of 146 new species of animals and plants registered with the California Academy of Sciences - Yi-kai Tea / California Academy of Sciences / SWNS

Rose-veiled Fairy Wrasse, one of 146 new species of animals and plants registered with the California Academy of Sciences – Yi-kai Tea / California Academy of Sciences / SWNS

“By discovering and documenting new species, we can contribute to this groundbreaking goal and ensure that our natural world remains rich and diverse for generations to come.”

Scientists have made discoveries on six continents and three oceans, from isolated mountain peaks to hundreds of feet below the ocean’s surface.

New Caledonia in the Pacific is now home to 28 new species of bavayia gecko, more than doubling the known number.

Dr Aaron Bauer, a research fellow at the academy, said: “While all species within the genus look quite similar physically, we found that they are actually genetically different.

“Almost every mountain in New Caledonia is home to a unique species of Bavayia.”

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