From tree canopy to ocean floor, 1.2 million species of animals have been discovered. There may be closer to 9 million on Earth, leaving an almost inconceivable number still to be discovered.
Of the fraction scientists have identified, here are the animals you never knew existed.
From coral reefs: mantis shrimp
The scariest predator in the sea might not be a shark. Mantis shrimp are found in the Indo-Pacific from Guam to South Africa, range in size from a human’s smallest finger to the length of our arm and can see nine more color wavelengths than a human. A human sees three color wavelengths out of our binocular eyes, whereas the mantis shrimp has trinocular vision.
Mantis shrimp use their highly advanced vision to locate their prey and stomp the life out of it. Their punch accelerates as quickly as a 22-caliber bullet, moving so quickly it produces heat and light. Lethal hunting skills, honed over 400 million years, make the mantis shrimp an animal worth knowing — and avoiding if you live in the ocean.
From the abyss: sea pig
Sea pigs live in happy abundance on the deepest parts of the ocean floor. The sea pig looks almost exactly like our friend from Charlotte’s Web. However, this Wilbur has additional feet on its head and hydraulic pumps to cling to the ocean floor. This odd creature is technically a sea cucumber and falls into the same category as starfish and sea urchins.
The sea pig breathes, defecates and mates through its one and only orifice. It does not have a brain. Sea pigs are able to regrow organs, which is good because if it feels harassed, it expels its internal organs at the offender.
From a hydrothermal vent: yeti crab
In 2005, a new genus and species of crab was discovered. The Yeti Crab does not have eyes, is white and it’s covered in hair.
From southeast Asia: tarsier
This tiny marsupial is the only entirely carnivorous primate, with eyes so large in relation to its body it has the largest eyes of all mammals. The Tarsier rotates its head 180 degrees to use its gigantic eyes and its tiny brain.
From Africa: aye-aye
The island of Madagascar is home to the rare aye-aye. At first glance, it can be mistaken as a marsupial, but the four-pound animal is a primate. The aye-aye has one long middle finger it uses to jab into the the bark of a tree, searching for grub. Once it finds its meal, the aye-aye eats the grub off its finger like a chopstick.
The aye-aye is not particularly good-looking and is associated locally with bad luck. As a result, they are usually killed immediately but are now protected by law.
From nightmares: dementor wasp
In 2015, a new species of wasp was discovered. The new species’ name was inspired by the dementors from Harry Potter: terrifying flying creatures who suck happiness from their victims.
The venom from the wasp is not enough to kill a cockroach but is just enough to turn their insides to mush. As Dr. Alan Grant says in Jurassic Park, “The point is … you are alive when they start to eat you. So, you know, try to show a little respect.”