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Millions of unseen species fill Earth, only a quarter of them are discovered

Blair Hedges / AP

This undated photo provided by Penn State University Prof. Blair Hedges shows a Caribbean gecko, Sphaerodactylus ariasae, one of the two smallest reptile species known to exist, curled up on a dime. Found in the Dominican Republic, the gecko is about 16 mm, and is also the smallest amniote vertebrate of 25,000 species (includes birds, mammals, and reptiles). Hedges described "I found it with a colleague, while crawling on my hands and knees among dead leaves, anticipating a small lizard, but that not that small!" He said.

Blair Hedge / Penn State University via AP

This undated photo provided by Penn State University Biology Prof. Blair Hedges shows a threadsnake, the smallest snake species currently known to exist, curled up on a quarter. The tiny snake, found in Barbados, is approximately 1000 mm long, lays one single long egg, and is the shortest of 3,000 species of snakes.

Michel Segonzac, National Museum of National History in Paris, France/ AP

This undated handout image provided by the National Museum of National History in Paris, France, shows a blind new species, distantly related to the squat lobster family, which was found in 2005 in hydrothermal vents where the East Pacific Rise meets Antarctica. We live in a much wilder world than it looks.

NOAA / AP

This image, taken in 2002, about one mile deep near a huge underwater volcano near Monterey Bay, provided by NOAA shows this strange marine animal, thought to be a new species that has yet to be described or named. It is a type of mollusk, called nudibranch, that sheds its shell early in life.

From AP:

A new study estimates that Earth has almost 8.8 million species, but we've only discovered about a quarter of them. And some of yet-to-be-seen ones could be in our own backyards, scientists say.

So far, only 1.9 million species have been found. Recent discoveries have been small and weird: a psychedelic frogfish, a lizard the size of a dime and even a blind hairy mini-lobster at the bottom of the ocean. Continue reading.

 

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