Squat Lobster and other new species discovered

By | November 11, 2009

A ‘Rasta’, a ‘Wee Scots’, and a ‘Squat Lobster’: three new and unusual discoveries revealed by a NIWA deep-sea marine biodiversity survey.

The finds include a coral genus Narella and nicknamed ‘Rasta’ because of its long white dreadlock-like branches; a tiny ‘Squat Lobster’ measuring 1 cm across; and some specimens of sea urchin which are commonly known as Tam O’Shanters due to their similarity to the Scottish hat.

A recent deepsea survey of seamounts on the Chatham Rise found species some of which have never been recorded in the region and some of which may be new to science. This has increased the total number of species known to exist in the New Zealand region.

“There are three new corals that we are confident are new species from the area” says National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA) Deepwater Scientist, Di Tracey.

In an eighteen day voyage in June this year, NIWA’s research vessel Tangaroa explored several groups of seamounts (underwater hills and mountains) on the Chatham Rise. This area stretches for 1000 kilometres from near the South Island eastwards to the Chatham Islands.

It is estimated that there are over 100,000 seamounts worldwide. They can be ecologically valuable as hotspots of biodiversity and economically valuable and they are often the target of commercial fishing.

via New species discovered on Chatham Rise expedition.

Squat Lobster! A great new insult appears around the world for babysitters everywhere: “Give me back my iPod you little Squat Lobster, or I’m going to tell your mother that you …”  Or perhaps a band name.

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