Researchers discovered 71 new species of plants, animals in 2019

71 new species of animals, plants discovered

A small, purple fairy wrasse fish found off the coast of Africa and named after the fictional kingdom in "Black Panther" is one of more than 70 new species researchers discovered this year.

The cirrhilabrus wakanda was found about 200 feet below the water's surface in coral reefs near Tanzania.

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This year, researchers with the California Academy of Sciences found 17 species of fish, 15 geckos, eight flowering plants, six sea slugs, five spiders, four eels, three ants, three skinks, two skates, two wasps, two mosses, two corals and two lizards.

"Despite decades of tirelessly scouring some of the most familiar and remote places on Earth," Shannon Bennett, the academy's chief of science, said in a release. "Biodiversity scientists estimate that more than 90% of nature's species remain unknown. A rich diversity of plants and animals is what allows life on our planet to thrive: the interconnectedness of all living systems provides collective resilience in the face of our climate crisis. Each newly discovered species serves as an important reminder of the critical role we play in better understanding and preserving these precious ecosystems."