By Shreya Dasgupta

Discovering a new species is always exciting—it shows that much of our world remains to be explored and described. This year, too, scientists discovered and described several new species of animals and plants, including 13 new dancing peacock spiders, a new crab that was found in a pet market, a new species of whale, a tarantula that shoots balls of barbed hair at enemies and one bird that is now 13 distinct species.

Unfortunately, many of the new species are already on the brink of extinction, threatened by poaching, wildlife trade, habitat destruction and diseases.

Below are Mongabay's picks for top new species discovered in 2016 (in no particular order). Note: for each entry, the publication and author are listed in parentheses.

1. New species of Beaked Whale (Mongabay, by Jeremy Hance)

2. Thirteen New Dancing Peacock Spiders (Mongabay, by Shreya Dasgupta, Mike Gaworecki)

3. Rare Devil’s Orchid (Mongabay, by Shreya Dasgupta)

4. Three New Species of Mouse Lemurs (Mongabay, by Mike Gaworecki)

5. Deepest Fish Species Discovered by Deep-Diving (Mongabay, by Shreya Dasgupta)

6. Silver Boa That Is “On Its Way to Extinction” (Mongabay, by Mike Gaworecki)

7. Rabbit-Like Pika (Mongabay, by Shreya Dasgupta)

8. Caribbean Plants Named After James Bond (Mongabay, by Shreya Dasgupta)

9. Giant Air-Breathing Fish (National Geographic, by Brian Clark Howard)

10. Tarantula That Shoots Balls of Barbed Hairs at Enemies (Mongabay, by Shreya Dasgupta)

11. Two Species of Magnolia Discovered Online (BBC)

12. New Scops Owl (Mongabay, by Mike Gaworecki)

13. Parasitic Orchid That Never Blooms (Mongabay, by Shreya Dasgupta)

14. Spider That Looks like the ‘Sorting Hat’ from Harry Potter (Mongabay, by Shreya Dasgupta)

15. Six New Deep-Sea Animals Discovered in Undersea Hot Springs (Mongabay, by Shreya Dasgupta)

16. Three New Miniature Salamanders Are Already Headed for Extinction (Mongabay, by Shreya Dasgupta)

17. Crab Discovered in Chinese Fish Market (Mongabay, by Shreya Dasgupta)

18. New Millipede Has 414 legs, 4 Penises (Mongabay, by Shreya Dasgupta)

19. Smallest of Giant Flowers (Mongabay, by Shreya Dasgupta)

20. One Bird That Became 13 (Motherboard, by Kaleigh Rogers)

Reposted with permission from our media associate Mongabay.