English names wanted for 10 species
The public are being asked to come up with English names for 10 "fascinating" British species, including a sea spider and a metallic wasp, which are known to science only through their Latin identities.
The "name a species" competition, run by Natural England and The Guardian for the second year running, aims to rescue unnamed wildlife from obscurity amid concerns that species are disappearing without anyone noticing.
Among the list of species that people are being asked to name are a red and white tipped sea slug, an anemone, a fungus, a sand brittlestar, a hoverfly and a lichen that thinks it is a mushroom.
Judges in last year's competition, which attracted more than 3,000 entries, chose the "Queen's executioner" as the overall winning name to describe a beetle that feeds on the larvae of other beetles and is found only in Windsor Great Park, while other winners included the sea piglet and witches' whiskers.
Pete Brotherton, head of biodiversity at Natural England, said: "There is a wonderful array of fascinating creatures in this year's competition, from sea spiders and sea squirts, recently discovered mushrooms and rare hoverflies. Giving English names to these species will help give them a popular identity they are crying out for."
Adam Vaughan, editor of environmentguardian.co.uk, felt governments were waking up to the loss of wildlife around the world, but added: "We need the public to sustain the pressure, and giving species colourful and memorable names is a vital step in protecting them."
Among the sea dwellers on the list is Britain's largest sea squirt, the Phallusia mammillata, which grows up to 12cm long, alongside the Coryphella browni (a sea slug), the Sagartiogeton lacerates (an anemone), the Nymphon gracile, (a sea spider) and the Ophiura albida (a small sand brittlestar species).
On land, the Chrysis fulgida, a bright, metallic wasp which is endangered in Britain, joins the Xerocumus bubalinnus, a mushroom recognised as being new to Britain, while Chrystotoxum elegans is a hoverfly mainly found around the South West and south-west Wales.
Also on the list are the Octospora humosa, a bright reddish-orange fungus and the Lichenomphalia alpina, an unusual lichen that has a mushroom-like reproductive structure of a bright yellow cap, and which can grow 5mm-15mm across.