Fox, New Species 2023
Source: iStock

A bat-eared fox in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

The New Animal Species That Have Been Discovered (or Rediscovered) in 2023

Here's a look into some of the new and rare species discovered — or rediscovered — in 2023.

Sophie Hirsh - Author

Feb. 13 2023, Updated 5:39 p.m. ET

The year 2023 is sure to bring the news of various species becoming endangered, threatened, or even — gulp — extinct. But on the flip side, this year is also sure to bring about sightings of many new species.

We also have a feeling that experts will miraculously spot a few animals and plants who haven't been sighted in decades, were thought to be extinct, or were on the brink of extinction. Who doesn't love a sudden and unexpected reappearance?!

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Keep reading for a look into some of the new species that have been discovered so far in 2023 — and each time one is spotted this year, we’ll update this post.

Five new munidopsid squat lobsters

In January, researchers from Harvard University published a systematic study of East Pacific deep-sea squat lobsters, in which they identified and described five new munidopsid squat lobsters. They are:

  • Munidopsis girguisi
  • M. nautilus
  • M. testuda
  • M. cortesi
  • M. hendrickxi.
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According to the study, munidopsid squat lobsters are one of the most plentiful decapods found at the bottom of the ocean, and there are many subspecies within the species. These five new species of the lobster were discovered in the East Pacific, as part of a group of "many" deep-sea squat lobsters who researchers collected.

The researchers submitted the study on July 1, 2022, and presumably discovered these species sooner than that, but the study was not published until Jan. 11, 2023.

Sierra Nevada red fox

red fox new species
Source: California Department of Fish and Wildlife

A Sierra Nevada red fox, as captured on camera by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife

In late January, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced that its trail cameras helped the agency made four rare sightings of the Sierra Nevada red fox near Taboose Pass, in southern Sierra Nevada, Calif. The species previously hadn't been sighted in nearly a century, and is classified as endangered in California and nationwide.

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According to a CDFW press release, this was the first time the Sierra Nevada red fox has been spotted in the area since the 1930s. The cameras technically captured the foxes between April 20 and June 4, 2022, but the agency only shared the news on Jan. 24.

“From a conservation standpoint this shows that the Sierra Nevada Red Fox is more widely distributed than previously believed,” CDFW biologist Brian Hatfield stated.

Kumimanu fordycei and Petradyptes stonehousei penguins

In February, researchers from the University of Cambridge published their discovery of two prehistoric penguin species in the Journal of Paleontology. As noted by The New York Times, the fossilized remains of these two species were found in 57-million-year-old boulders that were recently cracked open by a tide.

The first species is the Kumimanu fordycei, which the researchers believe was the "largest penguin ever to have lived." According to SciTechDaily, the species lived on New Zealand's beaches about 57 million years ago, and each penguin weighed up to about 350 pounds. And as Deseret News noted, the penguins may have measured over 5 feet tall.

The second species is the Petradyptes stonehousei penguin, which the researchers believe weighed about 110 pounds.

This article, originally published on Jan. 27, 2023, has been updated to include more new species that have been identified.

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