Thursday, September 3, 2015

A new shrimp: Urocaridella liui

Urocaridella is a small genus of shrimps with currently five species although many researchers claim that there are many more left to be discovered and described. Some of these tiny mosquito like shrimps clean the mouths and bodies of moray eels and various other cave dwelling fish that share its habitat. Unlike other cleaner shrimps, Urocaridella are capable of prolonged hovering and free swimming, and prefer doing so than perching.

One of the neatest things about Urocaridella are their comical way of swimming. The video below shows what these shrimps are capable of doing. When swimming or hovering, they hold their claws downward and buzz around.

The new species came from a sea-mount at a depth of 255 m, unusually deep for this genus, and was almost colorless. All other known species of the genus occur in shallow subtidal waters and with often striking coloration. Urocaridella liui was named in honor of the late Professor Ruiyu Liu (J. Y. Liu) for his contributions to crustacean research in China.

For the experts: A new species of palaemonid shrimp, Urocaridella liui sp. nov., is discovered from deep waters on the Yap Seamount in the Western Pacific. The new species is unique in the genus by having a pronounced triangular protrusion on the third posterior part of the third pleonal tergite and the almost colorless body, as well as for its occurrence in waters deeper than 250 meters. Other distinct characteristics of this species are the arrangement of dorsal rostral teeth; shorter fingers of the first and second pereiopods and shorter dactyli of the posterior pereiopods; the ratio of the carpus/palm length of the first and second pereiopods; the slender, but not filiform third to fifth pereiopods; and rounded postero-ventrally margin of the fifth abdominal somite. A key to the species of Urocaridella is provided.

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