10 Strange Animals in the Mariana Trench

10 Strange Animals in the Mariana Trench

The Mariana Trench is in the western Pacific Ocean, around 200 kilometers, or 124 miles, from the Mariana Islands. The trench is the deepest point in the worlds’ oceans.

The Mariana Trench reaches 1,580 miles and 2,550 kilometers and a maximum width of 69 kilometers or 43 miles. The maximum known depth is 10,984 meters or 36,037 feet. The water pressure at the bottom of the trench is incredible, more than 1,071 times the normal atmospheric pressure at sea level. Living in this excellent habitat are some of the world’s most exciting and surprising animals. Explore a few of them in this https://cedointercultural.org/‘s article below.

10 Strange Animals in the Mariana Trench

Dumbo Octopus

The deepest known living octopus

The dumbo octopus, also known as grimpotheuthis, is a genus of pelagic umbrella octopuses. The name originates from the creature’s resemblance to the character Dumbo from the 1941 Disney film of the same name. The Dumbo octopus was first discovered around 1883, but the first specimen was not seen until the 1990s after the first deep-sea submersible vessels were invented.

The dumbo octopus is small compared to other octopods, averaging between 20 and 30 centimeters. The octopus’s gelatinous body allows it to exist at the highly pressured depths it prefers. Extreme pressure keeps its body together, and if brought to the surface, its body would not be able to work correctly.

Angler Fish

It has a bright lure on the end of its head to lure prey

The angler fish is a well-known marine creature thanks to the success of the film Finding Nemo. It’s a reasonably famous creature that’s quite distinctive due to the light protruding from its head. It has an unusually shaped body and sharp teeth. The females usually grow to around 8 inches long, and the males to only an inch in length. The males fuse themselves with the females, turning two individuals into one.

Frilled Shark

Species is more than 80 million years old

The frilled shark was discovered in the 19th century by German ichthyologist Ludwig H.P. Döderlein. It is often referred to as a “living fossil” due to its eery appearance and the shape of its mouth.

The shark has an eel-like body that’s dark brown to grey in color and amphistyly, referring to the articulation of the jaws to the head. Their teeth are widely spaced between 19 and 28 in the upper jaw and 21 to 29 in the lower jaw.

They live near the ocean floor, such as in and around the Mariana Trench, and near biologically productive areas.

Goblin Shark

Still unclear what the unusual snout is for

The goblin shark is a rare species of shark. Its unusual and “creepy” appearance is often described as fossil-like (similar to the frilled shark). It has pink-toned skin and a distinctive snout shape. It is elongated and flat with a protruding jaw and skinny, incredibly sharp teeth.

They can grow to be around 10-13 feet in length and are rarely seen by human beings. This is mostly due to the fact that they live so deep in the ocean, around 100 meters or 330 feet.

Telescope Octopus

A transparent octopus with tubular eyes

The telescope octopus is a transparent, eight-armed octopus that is almost entirely colorless. Their arms are the same size, and they are the only octopus to have tubular eyes. It is incredibly unusual to observe and was originally documented by Dr. William Evans Hoyle in 1885. The octopus is a rare species, meaning there is little that scientists, and the general public, know about the marine creature. But it’s believed to be a close relative of the glass octopus.

Zombie Worms

Target the fat that is inside the bone to eat

Zombie worms, also known as Osedax, are a type of deep-sea siboglinid polychaetes. The word “Osedax” means “bone-eater” in Latin and refers to the worm’s ability to bore into and eat bones from whale carcasses. They do so in an attempt to reach lipids enclosed inside the bone. They use special root tissues for bone boring.

Barreleye Fish

It has a transparent skull to see potential predators above it

The Barreleye Fish is another interesting deep-sea creature. They are also sometimes known as spook fish and are found in the temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. The fish are named for the shape of their eyes, which look like tubes or barrels. They are directed upwards in order to allow the fish to detect prey more easily.

Deep-sea Dragonfish

A very small deep-sea apex predator

The Deep-sea Dragonfish, also known as the scaleless dragonfish, is a deep-sea predator. It, like the angler fish, produces its own light. They have large teeth, especially compared to their size. The fish are only six inches long, but they have a dragon-like feature that makes them appear as a vicious predator. It creates its light through a process known as bioluminescence. The light is created through the animal’s photophore. The fish uses it to attract prey and potential mates.

Sea Cucumber

Make up the vast majority of sea life on the deep-sea floor, and breathe through their anus

The sea cucumber is a small echinoderm from the class Holothuroidea. They are marina animals with leather-textured skin. Their bodies are long and found on the seafloor around the world. There are around 1,700 species of holothurian around the world, but most are concentrated around the Asian Pacific region. Some of these live in the depths of the Mariana Trench.

They are named for their shape, which clearly resembles a cucumber. Sometimes, sea cucumbers are gathered for human consumption, but they play an important role in marine ecosystems. They break down detritus and other matter, cleaning their ecosystems.


An incredibly deep-sea fish that is scaleless would implode if it goes to the surface

Snailfish are an unusual and interesting species that live in the Arctic to Antarctic Oceans. There are more than 410 species of snailfish known to science. But there are other undescribed species. They live in depths ranging from the surface to 26,200 feet or around 8,000 meters. Unfortunately, snailfish are uncommonly studied, and little is known about their lives or habits. They are scaleless, though, with loose skin. Their teeth are small, and they have prominent sensory pores on their heads.


Do any animals live in the Mariana Trench?

Yes, many different animals live in the Mariana Trench. Most of these are rarely seen by human beings and have different, interesting attributes.

Is the Mariana Trench toxic?

Deep in the Mariana Trench, there are still examples of human-caused pollution. For example, scientists have discovered mercury pollution there.

Does Megalodon exist in Mariana Trench?

It is very unlikely that Megalodon still exists. But, if it did, it would live in the upper part of the water over the trench rather than in its depths.



While thousands of climbers have successfully scaled Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth, only two people have descended to the planet’s deepest point, the Challenger Deep in the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench.

Located in the western Pacific east of the Philippines and an average of approximately 124 miles (200 kilometers) east of the Mariana Islands, the Mariana Trench is a crescent-shaped scar in the Earth’s crust that measures more than 1,500 miles (2,550 kilometers) long and 43 miles (69 kilometers) wide on average. The distance between the surface of the ocean and the trench’s deepest point—the Challenger Deep, which lies about 200 miles (322 kilometers) southwest of the U.S. territory of Guam—is nearly 7 miles (11 kilometers). If Mount Everest were dropped into the Mariana Trench, its peak would still be more than a mile (1.6 kilometers) underwater.

The Mariana Trench is part of a global network of deep troughs that cut across the ocean floor. They form when two tectonic plates collide. At the collision point, one of the plates dives beneath the other into the Earth’s mantle, creating an ocean trench.

The depths of the Mariana Trench were first plumbed in 1875 by the British ship H.M.S. Challenger as part of the first global oceanographic cruise. The Challenger scientists recorded a depth of 4,475 fathoms (about five miles, or eight kilometers) using a weighted sounding rope. In 1951, the British vessel H.M.S. Challenger II returned to the spot with an echo-sounder and measured a depth of nearly 7 miles (11 kilometers).

The majority of the Mariana Trench is now a U.S. protected zone as part of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, established by President George W. Bush in 2009. Permits for research in the monument, including in the Sirena Deep, have been secured from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Permits for research in the Challenger Deep have been secured from the Federated States of Micronesia.



Because of its extreme depth, the Mariana Trench is cloaked in perpetual darkness and the temperature is just a few degrees above freezing. The water pressure at the bottom of the trench is a crushing eight tons per square inch—or about a thousand times the standard atmospheric pressure at sea level. Pressure increases with depth.

The first and only time humans descended into the Challenger Deep was more than 50 years ago. In 1960, Jacques Piccard and Navy Lt. Don Walsh reached this goal in a U.S. Navy submersible, a bathyscaphe called the Trieste. After a five-hour descent, the pair spent only a scant 20 minutes at the bottom and were unable to take any photographs due to clouds of silt stirred up by their passage.

Until Piccard and Walsh’s historic dive, scientists had debated whether life could exist under such extreme pressure. But at the bottom, the Trieste‘s floodlight illuminated a creature that Piccard thought was a flatfish, a moment that Piccard would later describe with excitement in a book about his journey.

“Here, in an instant, was the answer that biologists had asked for the decades,” Piccard wrote. “Could life exist in the greatest depths of the ocean? It could!”


While the Trieste expedition laid to rest any doubts that life could exist in the Mariana Trench, scientists still know very little about the types of organisms that reside there. In fact, some question whether Piccard’s fish was actually a form of sea cucumber. It is thought that the pressure is so great that calcium can’t exist except in solution, so the bones of vertebrates would literally dissolve. No bones, no fish. But nature has also proven scientists wrong many times in the past with its remarkable capacity for adaptation. So are there fish that deep? Nobody knows, and this is the whole point of the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE project, to find answers to such fundamental questions in this website https://cedointercultural.org/.

In recent years, deep-ocean dredges and unmanned subs have glimpsed exotic organisms such as shrimp-like amphipods, and strange, translucent animals called holothurians. But scientists say there are many new species awaiting discovery and many unanswered questions about how animals can survive in these extreme conditions. Scientists are particularly interested in microorganisms living in the trenches, which they say could lead to breakthroughs in biomedicine and biotechnology.

The Mariana Trench’s microscopic inhabitants might even shed light on the emergence of life on Earth. Some researchers, such as Patricia Fryer et alat University of Hawaii, have speculated that serpentine mud volcanoes located near ocean trenches might have provided the right conditions for our planet’s first life-forms. Additionally, studying rocks from ocean trenches could lead to a better understanding of the earthquakes that create the powerful and devastating tsunamis seen around the Pacific Rim, geologists say.

6 incredible facts about the Challenger Deep, the deepest point on Earth

6 incredible facts about the Challenger Deep, the deepest point on Earth

Just as Earth’s land surface has enormous peaks and valleys, the oceanic world has similarly varied topography.

Perhaps the most intriguing of these features is the Mariana Trench — a chasm in the western Pacific Ocean that spans more than 1,580 miles (2,540 kilometers) and is home to the Challenger Deep, the deepest known point on Earth’s surface that plunges more than 36,000 feet (about 11,000 meters) underwater.

That’s nearly three times deeper than the site https://cedointercultural.org/ where the wreckage of the RMS Titanic lies in the Atlantic Ocean, and it’s deeper than Mount Everest is tall.

6 incredible facts about the Challenger Deep, the deepest point on Earth

Here are some fascinating facts about this deep-sea phenomenon.

1. ‘Titanic’ director James Cameron is one of the few people who have visited

Few human expeditions have ventured to the Challenger Deep.

The first came in 1960 with the historic dive of the Trieste bathyscaphe, a type of free-diving submersible. During the dive, passengers Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh said they were stunned to see living creatures where scientists once imagined it was impossible for anything to survive.

“Right away, all of our preconceptions about the ocean were blown out the window,” Dr. Gene Feldman, an oceanographer emeritus at NASA, previously told CNN. He spent more than 30 years at the space agency.

James Cameron, director of the 1997 film “Titanic,” was the next deep-sea explorer to follow. He piloted a submersible — one that he personally had helped design — to about 35,787 feet (10,908 meters), setting a world record in 2012.

2. A plastic bag was found in the trench

Another explorer who returned to the site was Victor Vescovo, a Texas investor who journeyed 35,853 feet (10,927 meters) down and claimed a world record in 2019.

Vescovo gave depressing insight into humankind’s impact on these seemingly untouchable remote locations when he observed a plastic bag and candy wrappers at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

A handful of explorers have trekked to the Challenger Deep since then, but the expeditions are not common — and the journey is extremely dangerous.

For every 33 feet (10 meters) traveled beneath the ocean’s surface, the pressure on an object increases by one atmosphere, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. An atmosphere is a unit of measure that’s 14.7 pounds per square inch. A trip to the Challenger Deep can put a vessel under pressure that is “equivalent to 50 jumbo jets,” Feldman noted.

3. It lies in the hadal zone, named for the god of the underworld

Much like the Earth’s atmosphere, the ocean can be described in terms of layers.

The uppermost portion is called the epipelagic zone, or the sunlight zone, and extends just 660 feet (200 meters) below the water’s surface, according to NOAA.

The mesopelagic zone, or the so-called twilight zone, stretches from the end of the sunlight zone to about 3,300 feet (1,000 meters).

Then there’s the bathypelagic zone, also called the midnight zone, and, beneath that, the abyssopelagic zone — as in, the abyssal zone — that extends from 13,100 feet (4,000 meters) to 19,700 feet (6,000 meters). That’s nearly 4 miles underwater. Within the abyssal zone, few life-forms can survive, the water is completely devoid of light, and temperatures are near freezing.

But the Challenger Deep lies even further — in the hadalpelagic zone, or the hadal zone. It’s named for Hades, the Greek god of the underworld thought to rule over the dead.

4. It’s home to unique aquatic life and mud volcanoes

The hadal zone is one of the least explored habitats on Earth. At bone-crushing depths with no sunlight, it was long thought that nothing could survive there.

But that belief has been dispelled.

“Even at the very bottom, life exists. In 2005, tiny single-celled organisms called foraminifera, a type of plankton, were discovered in the Challenger Deep,” according to NOAA.

Discoveries at the Challenger Deep have included colorful rocky outcrops and bottom-dwelling sea cucumbers.

A series of undersea mud volcanoes and hydrothermal vents in the Mariana Trench also support unusual life-forms, according to NOAA. Despite the highly acidic and infernally hot water produced by hydrothermal vents in mud volcanoes, exotic species and microscopic organisms there are able to survive.

In the absence of sunlight, the creatures instead benefit from the nutrient-rich waters belched out from hydrothermal vents. The life-supporting medium results from chemical reactions between the seawater and magma rising from beneath the ocean floor.

5. The Mariana Trench was designated as a US national monument in 2009

The Marianas Trench Marine National Monument was established in 2009, in part to protect the rare organisms that thrive within its depths.

Objects of interest include the submerged ecosystem and its life-forms, such as deep-sea shrimp and crabs, and — higher up in the water column — stony coral reefs.

“A great diversity of seamount and hydrothermal vent life (is) worth preservation,” according to NOAA.

The entire national monument protects about 95,000 square miles (246,049 square kilometers).

6. It’s difficult to know just how deep the trench goes

The ocean floor remains one of the most mysterious places in the universe.

In fact, “we have better maps of the moon and Mars than we do of our own planet,” Feldman previously told CNN.

Though people have been exploring the ocean’s surface for tens of thousands of years, only about 20% of the seafloor has been mapped, according to 2022 figures from NOAA.

Given high interest in the Mariana Trench, however, researchers have made several efforts to give increasingly detailed pictures of its features. But that’s not easy: Due to the vastness and deepness of the bottommost ocean zone, scientists must rely on sonar, or acoustic, technology to attempt to give a full picture of what’s below.

Because instrumentation and technology are constantly improving, the estimated depth of the Challenger Deep has been updated as recently as 2021 to about 35,876 feet (10,935 meters).

The Bloop mystery has been solved: it was never a giant sea monster

The Bloop mystery has been solved: it was never a giant sea monster

In 1997, the Bloop was heard on hydrophones across the Pacific. It was a loud, ultra-low frequency sound that was heard at listening stations underwater over 5,000km apart, and one of many mysterious noises picked up by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Several articles in the years that followed popularised one suggestion that the Bloop might have been the sound of an unknown animal due to the “organic” nature of the noise, a theory that elevated the Bloop to the level of a great unsolved mystery.

However, the NOAA is pretty sure that it wasn’t an animal, but the sound of a relatively common event — the cracking of an ice shelf as it breaks up from Antarctica. Several people have linked to the NOAA’s website over the past week excitedly claiming that the mystery of the Bloop has been “solved”, but as the information on the NOAA website was undated and without a source, we spoke to NOAA and Oregon State University seismologist Robert Dziak by email to check it out. He confirmed that the Bloop really was just an icequake — and it turns out that’s kind of what they always thought it was. The theory of a giant animal making noises loud enough to be heard across the Pacific was more fantasy than science. Keep reading on this https://cedointercultural.org/‘s article to learn more about it.

Dziak explained to us the NOAA’s findings, and confirmed that “the frequency and time-duration characteristics of the Bloop signal are consistent, and essentially identical, to icequake signals we have recorded off Antarctica”. He explained: “We began an acoustic survey of the Bransfield Strait and Drake Passage in 2005 which lasted until 2010. It was in analysis of this recent acoustic data that it became clear that the sounds of ice breaking up and cracking is a dominant source of natural sound in the southern ocean. Each year there are tens of thousands of what we call ‘icequakes’ created by the cracking and melting of sea ice and ice calving off glaciers into the ocean, and these signals are very similar in character to the Bloop.”

The Bloop mystery has been solved: it was never a giant sea monster

That makes it “extremely unlikely” that the sound is animal in origin, but he also pointed out that the hypothesis that the Bloop was caused by an animal wasn’t ever really a serious one. He said: “What has led to a lot of the misperception of the animal origin sound of the Bloop is how the sound is played back. Typically, it is played at 16 times normal speed, which makes it sounds like an animal vocalisation of some sort. However, when the sound is played in real-time it has more of a ‘quake’ sound to it, similar to thunder.” You can hear a recording of the Bloop in the video accompanying this story.

There aren’t even that many mysterious sounds picked up by the NOAA’s hydrophones, according to Dziak: “Nearly all sounds can be attributed to major sound categories; geophysical (submarine volcanoes or earthquakes), weather (storms, waves, wind), anthropogenic (ships, airguns), ice (sea ice, iceberg groundings), and animals (cetaceans, fish).” Anything else is usually just some kind of electronic interference with the signal.

It’s easy to see why the Bloop was such a compelling mystery. The deep oceans are still mostly unexplored by humans (more than 95 percent, according to the NOAA), and only a few weeks ago an entirely new species of whale washed up on a beach in New Zealand. It was only in 2004 that the first video footage was recorded of a giant squid in the wild. To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, we know there’s a lot we don’t know about the deep ocean.

Fans of horror fiction were also delighted to note that the location pinpointed as the source of the Bloop was located a mere 1,760km from the location of the sunken city of R’yleh, where (according to HP Lovecraft) the mythical beast Cthulhu is imprisoned. Cthulhu would certainly fit the bill of a giant sea creature capable of emitting a sound that could travel for thousands of kilometres through the ocean, but unfortunately science has, once again, ruined the fun. Alas.

5 of the new species discovered in 2023

5 of the new species discovered in 2023

Taxonomists describe thousands and thousands of new extant (living) species every year, and 2023 has already seen some amazing new discoveries.

Sometimes, these creatures are completely new ones that have never been studied by scientists before, and sometimes it’s a case of a species and its subspecies being examined more closely – and it is agreed upon that they ought to be separate species.

And paleontologists are also describing new species that they’ve studied from bones, fossils, amber and even fossilised dung.

Sometimes species are named after their characteristics or the region in which they are found. However, sometimes scientists like to have a bit more fun and species have been named after celebrities, including over 40 species named after Sir David Attenborough. To learn further about wild life or marine life follow us on https://cedointercultural.org/‘s updates.

What is a species?

The concept of a species is arguably the most fundamental in biology. It is surprising, then, that it has caused scientists so much head-scratching. Charles Darwin wanted to do away with the concept altogether, considering it to be defining the indefinable.

The most used definition centres on interbreeding, stating that a species is a group within which two individuals can breed to produce fertile offspring.

In general, this definition holds water, but it can lead to surprising groupings. For example, due to climate change, polar bears and grizzly bears have been coming into contact and producing fertile young. Should we consider these bears one species?

The focus on sex also leaves out organisms that reproduce asexually. Other definitions consider ancestry, though where the lines should be drawn is unclear – are we the same species as our water-dwelling ancestors? Further definitions focus on ecology, geography and physiology.

5 of the new species discovered in 2023

How many species go extinct each day?

This is impossible to answer precisely. New species appear all the time and can go extinct before they’ve even been described, and estimates as to the rates of extinction very enormously. One approach to working it out would be to first take the yearly ‘natural extinction rate’ – the rate at which species would go extinct if we humans weren’t around. This is often stated as one per million (or 0.00001%) per year – but again, opinion on this varies.

Experts now believe that current rates of extinction have soared to between 1,000 and 10,000 times this natural rate. So, take the natural rate as one per million and that brings current rates to between 0.01 and 0.1% per year. There are said to be 1.6 million described species on our planet, but some experts believe there could be as many as 100 million. So, work out the worse- case scenario maths and the daily rate of extinction comes in at 273 species per day.

We are said to be in the midst of a sixth extinction. Unlike previous mass extinction events, which were the result of climatic shifts, geological activity and a very large asteroid, responsibility for the current losses is down to us.

How many plant species are there?

According to Kew Gardens, there are 342,953 vascular plant species (plants that can transport nutrients and water). Then there are plants lacking a vascular system, such as mosses and lichen, which account for 22,750 species. Finally, algae or seaweeds number about 22,000.

So, adding these together makes a total of 387,703 recognised plant species – but with more discovered each year, the number is steadily rising.

Newly described species of 2023

DiCaprio’s snail-eating snake (Sibon irmelindicaprioae), Panama and Colombia

A tree-dwelling species, DiCaprio’s snail-eating snake (Sibon irmelindicaprioae) is one of five new snail-eating snakes described by scientists. The paper’s authors have advised that the species is classified as Near Threatened, as its distribution includes many large areas with unspoiled forest. Although some of its habitat has been converted to pasture, the species is probably not declining fast enough to qualify for a threatened category.

The newly described species is known from 16 localities in Panama and Colombia. One of these is an isolated population in the Cordillera Oriental mountain range of Colombia, which occurs at higher elevations and has a slightly different pattern, and which may turn out to be a different species upon further genetic analysis.

The specific epithet ‘irmelindicaprioae’ honours Irmelin DiCaprio, the mother of the actor and conservationist Leonardo DiCaprio who chose the name.

Stream treefrog (Hyloscirtus tolkieni), Ecuador

Just a single individual of Hyloscirtus tolkieni, a stream treefrog, has been found and captured, despite focused searches during the initial fieldwork. However, this one individual was enough for the authors of this paper to be able to describe it as a new species. This is because it was distinct enough in its morphology from other species in the Hyloscirtus genus.

With only one individual found so far, the species’ known distribution is limited to the place where it was found and captured – the southern eastern slopes of the Cordillera Oriental, a chain of Andean mountains in the Río Negro-Sopladora National Park of Ecuador.

This genus of treefrogs is called stream treefrogs as they are usually found near streams, in which they breed. For this species, the specific epithet ‘tolkieni’ is named in honour of the author J.R.R.Tolkien, known for his works such as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The scientists say that the colours of the newly described species “evoke the magnificent creatures that seem to only exist in fantasy worlds”.

Bent-toed gecko (Cyrtodactylus santana), Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste

The world’s fourth youngest country Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, occupying the eastern half of the island of Timor which is part of the Lesser Sunda Islands, has had its first species of bent-toed gecko described by scientists.

The gecko was first found during the day in the Lene Hara cave in Nino Konis Santana National Park, and initially evaded efforts by the scientists to catch it. Returning at night, as bent-toed geckos are nocturnal and would be less skittish then, the scientists were able to catch ten of the geckos. Genetic and morphological analysis confirmed that it was an undescribed species.

This is the first species of bent-toed gecko described by scientists in the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, which has had bent-toed geckos seen there before, but never described to species level. Limited biological surveying has taken place in Timor-Leste due to the violence and unrest prior to its independence, so scientists believe that there the country may have more undescribed species to be found. The species was found in the Lene Hara cave in Nino Konis Santana National Park.

The expedition which caught the geckos also found a number of plants and crabs that are being analysed and may prove to also be undescribed species.

The specific epithet ‘santana’ is derived from the Nino Konis Santana National Park where it was found, and which is named in honour of the freedom fighter Nino Konis Santana who was born within the boundaries of the park.

Gymnures (Podogymnura intermedia and P. minima), Philippines

With its golden-brown fur and pointed nose, P. intermedia looks a lot like a shrew, but belongs to a group of mammals known as gymnures. They are also known as hairy hedgehogs or moonrats, and are closely related to hedgehog.

Like all other members of the Podogymnura genus, P. intermedia is found in the Philippines. It was found during a survey on the mountains of eastern Mindanao, where there had never been surveys for mammals before.

“One of the highly distinct things about the Philippines is that every isolated mountain or little mountain range where we have done surveys is that each and every one has several species that occur nowhere else – not even on adjacent mountain ranges on the same island,” says co-author Laurence Heanery, Negaunee Curator of Mammals at the Field Museum in Chicago. “If you don’t go look, you don’t know what is there.”

The specific epithet ‘intermedia’ is derived from the Latin word ‘intermedium’, translating to ‘intermediate’. It was used for this new hedgehog-like as the species is intermediate in size between P. auroespinula (the largest member of the genus) and the other two species, P. truei and P. minima.

It is also intermediate in the amount of golden colour in its fur. “P. truei and P. minima have dark fur with tiny golden sparkles, P. intermedia has golden streaks in the fur, and P. aurospinula has long golden hairs mixed into its pelage,” says Heaney. “They are all pretty cute animals.”

It’s hoped that further surveys can be undertaken to learn more about the species, but with preparations for undertaking them, doing the fieldwork in remote areas and then analysing the data all being very time-consuming, it’s unknown when these will be able to take place.

Although indigenous people and conservation groups are hoping to preserve their homelands, the species may be threatened by habitat destruction and degradation if mining and agriculture expand in the area, as well as building roads to increase access.

In the same paper, the authors also elevated P. minima from a subspecies of P. truei to species level, as their genetic and anatomical analysis of it found that it was distinct. The paper brings the number of Podogymnura species up to four – doubling the number of known species in that genus – all of which are endemic to the Philippines.