September 28, 2022

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New species of giant isopods have been discovered in the deep sea in the Gulf of Mexico

New species of giant isopods have been discovered in the deep sea in the Gulf of Mexico

Pathenomus yucatanensis is a type of giant crustacean that forages on the ocean floor. Their segmented bodies of fourteen men resemble their smaller relative, woodlice. The long size of the giant isopods is attributed to deep sea giantthe same phenomenon that leads to giant squid at the bottom of our oceans.
A group of Taiwanese, Japanese, and Australian researchers set out to describe a new species of giant isopod and differentiate it from Pathenomus gigantius, the giant isopod found throughout tropical western Atlantic waters. Their research has been published In the Journal of Natural History Tuesday.

The researchers collected samples of the newly identified species off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. By comparing the massive crustaceans with others collected around Taiwan and Hong Kong, they were able to identify distinctive characteristics, such as their creamy yellow color and more slender body proportions.

DNA analysis also showed that P. yucatanensis differs from its relatives. But because the different species are somewhat similar, scientists have acknowledged that “there is a long history of misidentification of species in the genus.”

And there may be more massive isopods to come: the researchers note that there may be more undiscovered species in the Atlantic.

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