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Jumping cockroach discovered in South Africa

This year's list of new species also includes a glow-in-the-dark mushroom and a leech with enormous teeth

May 26, 2011|From Times wire reports
  • The South African cockroach has been named as one of the world's top 10 news species. The "leaproach" was discovered in the Table Mountain National Park by scientists from the University of Cape Town.
The South African cockroach has been named as one of the world's top… (Mike Picker / University…)

JOHANNESBURG — A leech with enormous teeth sounds like a horror movie special effect, but according to an annual list of new species, it really exists. It joins on this year's list a glow-in-the-dark mushroom and a spider that can create giant webs.

But the new species that has scientists excited this year is out of South Africa.

Scientists there say they've found a new species of cockroach in a popular tourist destination.

Cape Town's Table Mountain National Park is home to the world's only jumping cockroach, which this week was named one of the top 10 species discoveries of the year by an international panel of experts.

Mike Picker, a co-author of the Field Guide to Insects of South Africa, said Thursday his discovery shows how little is known about the world's insects and other animals.

Quentin Wheeler, whose International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University oversees the annual list, says some 10 million species are waiting to be described, named and classified.

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