Animal species discovered in 2013

MSN News | AP Photo: University of California, Berkeley
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Legless lizard

From a legless lizard to a new shrew in a remote forest, here's a look at some new species discovered so far this year. See gallery

California scientists discovered four species of legless lizards hidden near the bustling Los Angeles International Airport among central valley oil derricks and sand dunes at the end of an airport runway, according to Reuters. The finding, announced in a publication of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University this week, brings the number of known snake-like lizard species living in California up from one to five. 

The biologists are trying to determine whether the lizards need protected status.

Getty Images: Mark Gurney for Smithsonian
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In August, researchers announced the rare discovery of a new species of mammal called the olinguito. It belongs to a grouping of large creatures that includes dogs, cats and bears. The raccoon-sized critter leaps through the trees of mountainous forests of Ecuador and Colombia at night, according to a Smithsonian researcher who has spent the past decade tracking them.

The olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina) had been mistakenly identified for more than 100 years and is also the first carnivore species to be discovered in the American continents in 35 years.

The Field Museum: William Stanley
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Hero shrew

A century ago, the Popeye of the shrew species, the hero shrew (Scutisorex somereni), was discovered in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  The tiny creature was mysteriously strong — able to move logs and rocks many times its weight.

Corbis: Jorge Sanz
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Epaulette Shark

In August scientists announced the discovery of a new species of walking shark off the coast of Indonesia: the epaulette shark. It's able to survive in low-oxygen waters by increasing the blood supply to its brain and selectively shutting down non-essential neural functions.

"This is the third walking shark species to be described from eastern Indonesia in the past six years, which highlights our tremendous shark and ray biodiversity," one shark expert told UPI.

AP Photo: NOAA Fisheries via The State
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Carolina hammerhead

The Carolina hammerhead, a  new species of hammerhead shark thought to reach 11 feet long and weigh about 400 pounds, has been identified cruising the waters at Bull's Bay north of Charleston, S.C., St. Helena Sound near Beaufort, and in the Charleston harbor.

The species differs from other hammerheads in that it has fewer vertebrae.

AP Photo: Ashish John, Wildlife Conservation Society
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Cambodian tailorbird

In June, researchers announced they'd discovered a new species of bird in Cambodia. The wren-sized Cambodian tailorbird lives in dense, humid lowland scrub in Phnom Penh and other locations just outside the city, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society.

"The discovery indicates that new species of birds may still be found in familiar and unexpected locations," Simon Mahood of the Wildlife Conservation Society told the BBC.

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