This being the last Mongabay Newscast of 2016, we’re bringing you the top new species discoveries of the year. Here at Mongabay we report on a lot of environmental science and conservation news. It’s not always the most cheery subject matter, especially when we’re reporting on endangered or extinct species. But it’s important to remember that we’re also discovering new species all the time.
Mongabay staff writer Shreya Dasgupta rounded up all of the top new species discovered in 2016, including 13 new dancing peacock spiders, a crab that was discovered in a pet market, a new species of whale, a tarantula that shoots balls of barbed hair at its enemies, and one bird that is now 13 distinct species.
We also speak with author Mike Shanahan, whose new book Gods, Wasps, and Stranglers: The secret history and redemptive future of fig trees looks at this tropical species’ biology and key ecological role, as well as its deep cultural (and spiritual) place in human history. If listening to this episode of the Newscast leaves you wanting to hear more from Shanahan, Mongabay editor Erik Hoffner interviewed him back in November. “Wild fig trees are magnets to biodiversity. Plant them and other species, both plant and animal, soon follow,” Shanahan said then.