A lot has happened over the past year. But maybe the most exciting news for kids is the discovery of new animals. Spark children’s passion for STEM by introducing them to never before documented species. Then check out fun related activities from Nat Geo Kids! (And thanks to the International Institute for Species Exploration for inspiration!)
A spider bearing an “uncanny” resemblance to the sorting hat in the Harry Potter series has been discovered by scientists in India. … The spider takes its name from Godric Gryffindor, the fictional owner of the hat. It was discovered in the mountainous Western Ghats region of south-western India.
The Vangunu giant rat (Uromys vika), locally known as the vika, is a giant arboreal species of rodent in the family Muridae. The rat was discovered in the island of Vangunu in the Solomon Islands in 2015, after years of searching based on local stories, and described in 2017. It was identified as a new species on the basis of its skull, skeleton and a detailed DNA analysis. The single individual initially collected from a felled tree (Dillenia salomonensis) measured 46 cm long, weighed between 0.5 and 1.0 kg and had orange-brown fur. Its diet is believed to include thick-shelled nuts like ngali nuts and coconuts, and probably fruits. The species is likely to be designated critically endangered, due to the small amount of forest habitat (about 80 km2) remaining on the island and ongoing logging.
Stingrays are commonly found in the shallow coastal waters of temperate seas. They spend the majority of their time inactive, partially buried in sand, often moving only with the sway of the tide.
In a paper published today in PLOS One, researchers describe two new species of ants from New Guinea.
The new ant species are members of the widespread Pheidole genus, a type of ant found all over the world, and known for its large heads. But in addition to their big heads, these two species have huge spikes on their backs.