While scientists have already recorded around 1.2 million animal species, they are convinced that there are at least 8.7 million more species left to discover. The animal kingdom is diverse and marvelous. From long-nosed monkeys to long-legged crabs, here are some of the world's most unique creatures.

Philippine tarsier

Scientific name: Carlito syrichta

Range: islands in Southeast Asia

The tarsier is named after its unusually long tarsals (ankle bones). These nocturnal primates are known for their lemur-like appearance and bulging eyes. They are carnivorous and have padded digits, which allow them to grip onto tree trunks while they move through the forest.

Tarsier - small primate with large eyes from the island of Bohol in the Philippines


Scientific name: Ambystoma mexicanum

Range: lakes near Mexico City

This salamander has a long tail, external gills, and short legs. They are usually a darkish brown with black speckles. However, white and albino Axolotls are also common. In Mexico City, where these unique amphibians are found, they are considered edible.

A female wild-type axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum). These salamanders are extensively used in research laboratories around the world, in no small part due to the fact that they have astonishing regenerative potential. In their native habitat, they are threatened with extinction.

Giraffe weevil

Scientific name: Trachelophorus giraffa

Range: forests of Madagascar

This insect was only discovered in 2008, so our knowledge of them is limited. However, we do know that they are herbivorous and that they do not sting. They have long giraffe-like necks, with males having necks two to three times the size of a female's.

The giraffe weevil (Trachelophorus giraffa) in Andasibe Mantadia National Park, Madagascar

Christmas Tree worm

Scientific name: Spirobranchus giganteus

Range: on coral in the Caribbean and throughout the world's tropical oceans

The Christmas Tree worm is a unique species of tube worm found under the sea. They are known for their Christmas tree-like appearance and bright colors. Their tentacles, which give them their conical shape, allow them to eat and breathe underwater. When disturbed, these worms retract back into their tubes.

Spirobranchus giganteus, commonly known as Christmas tree worms, are tube-building polychaete worms belonging to the family Serpulidae


Scientific name: Monodon monoceros

Range: Canadian Arctic, Greenlandic, Russian waters

This unique marine mammal is most popularly known as the "unicorn of the sea". They have long tusks that can reach up to a meter (3 feet). The Narwhal tends to live in groups and they are usually found along the coasts or in rivers.

Narwhal couple, two Monodon monoceros playing in the ocean

Bald Uakari

Scientific name: Cacajao calvus

Range: trees in the Amazon basin

The Bald Uakari is a red-faced primate native to South America. They prefer to live in flooded rain forests or near lakes and rivers, where water is plentiful. These mammals are herbivores, known to spend the day foraging for fruits and leaves. Unfortunately, due to hunting and the timber industry, their population is being threatened.

Closeup view of the face of a Bald Uakari monkey in the Amazon Rainforest near Iquitos, Peru

Proboscis monkey

Scientific name: Nasalis larvatus

Range: along rivers and in the mangrove forests of Borneo

These primates are famous for their drooping nose. While both female and male Proboscis monkeys have a sagging nose, males have larger noses. Males also weigh twice the amount of a female Proboscis monkey. They are reddish brown and have long tails.

Portrait of a Male Proboscis Monkey with a big nose and a wary look.

Japanese spider crab

Scientific name: Macrocheira kaempferi

Range: Pacific waters near Japan

These intimidating crustaceans have an orange body with white spotted legs. They prefer the deeper parts of the ocean, foraging for foods such as shellfish, algae and fish on the sea bed. Japanese spider crabs use their pincers to tear apart the meat of their prey. This spider-like sea bed crawler is one of the largest arthropods. Their leg span can reach up to 12 feet (3.7 meters).

Giant Japanese spider crab, Macrocheira kaempferi

Did you know about any of these unique creatures?

Source: Species Encyclopaedia Britannica (Tarsier), Encyclopaedia Britannica (Axolotl), SFZoo (Giraffe Weevil), MarineBio (Christmas Tree worm), Encyclopaedia Britannica (Narwhal), National Geographic (Bald Uakari) Encyclopaedia Britannica (Proboscis monkey) The Dallas World Aquarium (Japanese spider crab)

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