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Cartwheeling Spider, Colorful Sea Slug Among Top New Species

The Top 10 Species list is compiled annually by the International Institute for Species Exploration, or IISE. It calls attention to discoveries that are made even as species are going extinct faster than they are identified.

From among the 18,000 new species named last year, a committee of taxonomists chose the ones that made the 2015 list. They include a bird-like dinosaur, dubbed the “chicken from Hell,” that was 3.5 meters from beak to tail and weighed as much as 300 kilograms; a spider that lives in the Moroccan desert and can use its gymnastic talents to cartwheel out of danger; a 23-centimeter-long walking stick common in Vietnam; and a colorful sea slug from the Japanese islands that is the missing link between slugs that feed on colonies of tiny stinging jellies and those specializing on corals.

Scientists believe 10 million species still await discovery, five times the number that are already known to science.

IISE founding director Quentin Wheeler said the Top 10 Species list " is a reminder of the wonders awaiting us.”