The highest branches of a Brazilian forest. The permanent darkness of a cave in China. The deepest place on Earth.
Life has carved niches in the most extreme and impressive habitats. As a result, he has taken surprising and simply strange attributes and physical behaviors.
In celebration of this biodiversity, the SUNY College of Environmental and Forestry Sciences compiled a list of the 10 most important new species that were described by science in the previous year. (Read the 2017 list here.)
This year's list includes a rare great ape, a hitchhiker beetle, an extinct omnivorous marsupial lion and many critically endangered species. As humans alter habitats and contribute to global climate change, species die out at a faster rate than we can name them.
"If we do not find them, [these species] they will be lost forever," Wheeler said. "And yet, they can teach us a lot about the complexities of ecosystems and the details of evolutionary history, each of which has found a way to survive against the odds of changing competition, climate and environmental conditions."
Here are the creatures that made the Top 10 list of 2018:
A mysterious unicellular organism
the microscopic wonder is different from anything scientists have ever seen.
Researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego discovered that the protist lived in a cerebral coral in a tropical aquarium. The organism is propelled with a tail like a bad, called a scourge, and uses unusual harpoon-like structures to stun and consume other protists. Because scientists found the species in captivity, they can not be sure of its geographical origins in nature.
The genetic origins of the cell also baffled its discoverers. A. twista does not fit with any known group of organisms. Instead, it seems to belong to an early eukaryotic lineage that was previously unknown.
The solitary giants of Brazil
These Huge trees stand up to 130 feet above the canopy of the Atlantic Forest of Brazil, producing woody fruits that grow more than a foot in length.A member of the legume family, this 62- The giant of the ton is found only in and outside the Vale Natural Reserve in Espirito Santo, Brazil With only 25 known trees, the species is considered critically endangered.
Tree sister species, D. excelsa was discovered almost 100 years ago. September, scientists described the smallest D. jueirana-facao as a distinct species.
The Atlantic Forest – which is home to more than half of the country's threatened animal species – may be endangered The region once covered 330 million acres, but humans have cleared 85% of the forest now fragmented.
A hunchback shrimp  Last year, scientists discovered 26 new species of small crustaceans in the Southern Ocean off Antarctica. famous for their bright colors, thorns and variety, some live as swimming predators and others stay and feed by filtration, a species stood out for its humpbacked back, which reminded scientists of "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame" by Quasimodo by Victor Hugo. E. quasimodo measures approximately 2 inches long.
A hitchhiking beetle
Many creatures use mimicry and camouflage to great effect, but this little beetle takes it to other level.  Nymphister kronaueri developed a set of traits that allow him to live among a particular species of army ant in Costa Rica. Army ants are nomads, spending a few weeks in one place before migrating for about three weeks to new territory. When the ants move, so do the beetles. That's when his mimicry comes into play.
The beetle, only 1.5 millimeters long, has shape, size and color like the abdomen of a worker ant. N. kronaueri uses its tiny jaws to hold the abdomen of its host while the ants embark on their journey. This makes it look like the ant has two abdomens. These mirmecófilos, or lovers of the ants, probably use chemical signals similar to the host ants to avoid the detection.
A new species of great ape
Location: Sumatra, Indonesia
The family of great apes welcomed an eighth member in 2017: Tapanuli orangutans.
In 2013, researchers compared the skull of an adult Sumatran male orangutan killed by humans to another 34. Last year, they announced that they had found enough subtle differences to convince themselves that this individual belonged to a different species. Tapanulis, named for the region of the island where they are found, live on the southern limit of the orangutans of Sumatra. It is estimated that there are 800 individuals in a small and fragmented habitat.
About 674,000 years ago, orangutans on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo were divided into separate species. However, the species of Sumatra separated about 3.38 million years ago. In addition to three species of orangutan, the other living species of large apes are gorillas, chimpanzees, western and eastern bonobos and, of course, humans.
The deepest fish in the world. sea
Location: Western Pacific Ocean
Surprises still abound in the depths of the ocean.
Researchers explore the Mariana Trench, the deepest place on Earth, they found a large number of strangers tadpole-type fish swarming in its traps with mackerel bait.This translucent snail was recorded 5 miles below the surface of the ocean, making it the deepest fish in the world. o Scientists believe that the 5-mile mark represents a physiological limit below which most fish can not survive.
Despite measuring only 4 inches in length, the Mariana snail is the main predator in its ocean floor habitat, the researchers observed.
A flower feeding mushrooms
Location: Ishigaki Island, Japan
Among the well-documented flora of Japan, an unusual flower eluded science until now.
In September and October, Sciaphila sugimotoi produces delicate magenta flowers in only two places in the humid Ishigaki forest.The plant lives symbiotically with a fungus, which provides it with the energy it needs to survive. the other plants, which obtain energy from the sun through photosynthesis.
About 50 plants constitute the critical resource gered species, suggest the researchers.
A bacterial eruption
In 2011, the Tagoro underwater volcano erupted and wiped out much of the ecosystem of the El Hierro coast in the Canary Islands. Three years later, a strange new bacterium was the first organism to re-colonize the area.
Nicknamed "Venus hair" for its long, hair-like structures, proteobacteria grew to almost half an acre in size and covered the summit of Tagoro with a mbadive white mat. The colony, scientists suggest, represents the beginning of a new ecosystem 430 feet below the surface of the ocean.
A marsupial lion
About 23 million years ago, a lion the size of a Siberian husky wandering the Australian forest, this marsupial ate meat and plants, and spent part of his days in the trees.
Fossilized remains of the creature were unearthed in the Riversleigh World Heritage area of Queensland. W. schouteni was one of the two marsupial lions that existed towards the late Late Oligocene Era 25 million years ago In the late Miocene, the species of the genus Wakaleo, or small lions, grew in an evolutionary chain reaction: the prey animals became larger than life. spheres to a continent of drying and cooling.
A Caveman Beetle
Du & # 39; an Karst, a limestone cave system in the Chinese province of Guangxi, is a true kingdom of cave-dwelling ground beetles.  To date, more than 130 species have been discovered in the region, the last being Xuedytes bellus . The researchers marvel at how "extremely adapted to the caverns" the beetle appears, with its head and Dramatically long neck and slender body.
Beetles that evolve in dark caves often acquire a similar set of features, including narrow bodies, spiders as appendages. and loss of wings, eyes and color.