British researchers have discovered two new species of shrimp-like crustaceans off the coast of Ireland.
Dr Tammy Horton and Dr Michael Thurston of the National Oceanography Centre in Southhampton, who published their findings in the scientific journal Zootaxa, say that what is most notable about the new species is their scavenging patterns.
The newly-identified species, named Paracallisoma idioxenos and Haptocallisoma lemarete, are amphipods, small, scavenging crustaceans around 3 mm (about a tenth of an inch) in length. While amphipods tend to move in swarms to strip the carcasses of marine animals such as whales and fish, these new species are able to strip a pig carcass in only a few days, the Irish Times reports.
Dr Horton says amphipods are “incredibly diverse and adaptable,” and there are over 10,000 known species.
The species were named in honor of Roger Bamber, a taxonomist who died in February.
“I gave the species name ‘lemarete’ to one of the amphipods because it translates from Greek to ‘Bold and Excellent,’ which is the motto on Roger Bamber’s coat of arms,” says Dr Horton.
Professor Andrew Gooday at the National Oceanography Centre said that amphipods are very common and found in large numbers.
“They occur from shallow waters to the deepest part of the ocean.”
Fortunately, these newly identified amphipods can only be found in deep waters, over 2.5 km below sea level.
“There’s no danger of paddling in the sea and encountering flesh-eating crustaceans,” he added.
* Originally published August 2015.