6. New Animal Species Have Been Discovered in Central Park

Thanks to the Central Park Zoo, and exotic visitors like the colorful mandarin duck, Central Park serves as a habitat for many animals, some of which have never been seen before. In 2002, scientists discovered a new kind of centipede, an animal so unique that its discovery required the creation of not only a new species, but an entirely new genus. The tiny creature was found in a pile of leaf litter, or a bunching of “broken twigs, fungi and decomposing plant and tree leaves mixed with soil,” which was collected from the North Woods and the Ramble. The new centipede is called Nannarrup hoffmani, or Hoffman’s dwarf centipede, named for Dr. Richard L. Hoffman who studied it.

The centipede is not the only new species to be discovered in Central Park. There was also a new fly discovered on Central Park duck droppings in 2017. Before these most recent discoveries, the last known new species to be discovered in Central Park was a cutworm moth found over 130 years ago during the Golden Age of North American biological classification which lasted from around 1820 and 1920.