The Most Bizarre Creatures Discovered In 2019

There are a lot of weird animals and plants out there. Sure, those fleshy apes who call themselves "humans" are probably the weirdest, but they've been in the public eye for a long time, to the point where some animals have even adapted to defend themselves from people. Can you blame them? Meanwhile, even though scientists have spent centuries ruthlessly cataloging every little creature they come across, today's biodiversity experts estimate that about 90 percent of species on Earth have yet to be discovered. Crazy! Cue that X-Files theme ...

Conspiracy theories aside, there's no question that the Earth still has many secrets buried in its muddy, watery flesh, including a bajillion freaky, unknown critters. Just in 2019 alone, the California Academy of Sciences announced the discovery of 71 new species. Some of these animals have insane abilities, some are masters of disguise, while others are just plain weirdos. 

Disguised sea slugs, spiders that worship ants, and a fish from Wakanda

Okay, so what did scientists dig up this year?

First of all, spiders. Now, sure, spiders are freaky enough, especially if you're worried about swallowing them in your sleep, but a new type of spider found in Mexico's Chihuahuan desert takes the cake. Basically, these spiders are considered "ant worshippers," because they seem to spend all of their time buried in ant mounds. For now, exactly what these spiders find so fascinating about ants is a mystery, since the only way to find them is to dig them up — which, obviously, disrupts their natural habits. 

Another fascinating lifeform discovered in 2019, as described by CNN, is a type of sea slug called Madrella amphora. Sea slugs are known to be little chameleons, often changing their color to defend themselves, but what makes Madella amphora special is that it mimics the look, shape, and color of snail eggs. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?

Arguably the coolest animal discovered this year, though, is a little fish called the Cirrhilabrus wakanda, also known as the vibranium fairy wrasse, pictured above. What, does that remind you of a certain movie called Black Panther? It should. These iridescent purple fish, which had been hiding away in the dark, coral "Twilight Zone" reefs found 260 feet below, off the coast of Tanzania, were indeed named in honor of T'Challa's home. Why? Because, as explained by Yi-Kai Tea, the study's lead author, "When we thought about the secretive and isolated nature of these unexplored African reefs, we knew we had to name this new species after Wakanda." Good stuff. This puts these fellas right at home in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, though to be fair, that coloring also could've got them labeled as a Thanos fish. Close call, fishy!