Each year, scientists discover thousands of new species, but only a few enjoy the distinction of being named one of the top ten new species of the year.  That honor is bestowed by the Informational Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University.

The winners include organisms as diverse as a monkey, a jellyfish, and a fungus.  The selections were made by a committee of scientists from around the world.  This was the fifth year for the top ten list.

“The top 10 is intended to bring attention to the biodiversity crisis and the unsung species explorers and museums who continue a 250-year tradition of discovering and describing the millions of kinds of plants, animals and microbes with whom we share this planet,” said Quentin Wheeler, an entomologist who directs the International Institute for Species Exploration.  Dr. Wheeler is a board member of the Natural Science Collections Alliance.

The winners were selected from more than 200 nominations.  Selection criteria are simple, according to Mary Liz Jameson, an associate professor at Wichita State University and chair of the selection committee.  “Some of the new species have interesting names; some highlight what little we really know about our planet,” she said.

Learn more about the 2011 winners at http://species.asu.edu/Top10.