26 April 2011
Tuesday Crustie: What a happy lad since the day he lost his strings
Squat lobsters are not terribly well known, and this is a new species in a genus that even I didn’t know about: Uroptychus.
This species is being split off from Uroptychus naso (“naso” means nose), which is found in the western Pacific. The new species was spotted because of genetic surveys. Two lineages of mitochondrial DNA were found in samples, which prompted a closer look at what had been thought to be a single species.
Once they had spotted the genetic difference, the authors went back and tried to look for morphological differences. The authors describe these as “slight” - subtle variation in rows of setae and the like. And the authors describe two new species from the re-examination. It’s a nice example of how genetic work can lead to the discovery of cryptic species.
This one has a more northern distribution, ranging up to Japan. And it has a wonderful name, in reference to its relative, and its prominent rostrum.
And people say scientists have no sense of humour.
Next week, I’ll showcase the other new species and talk a bit about the geography related to the three squat lobsters.
Poore GCB, Andreakis N. 2011. Morphological, molecular and biogeographic evidence support two new species in the Uroptychus naso complex (Crustacea: Decapoda: Chirostylidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution: In press. DOI:10.1016/j.ympev.2011.03.032