posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 01:46 PM
Sensational finds on the australian coral reef
This new shrimplike species has a claw that is longer than its own body
Austrailan researchers has found hundreds of new, marine animal-species in the Great barrier reef and Ningaloo reef.
Working at Lizard and Heron Islands (part of the Great Barrier Reef) and Ningaloo Reef in northwestern Australia, researchers turned up a wealth of
new insights into – and stunning images of – ocean life, much of it never seen by humans before, including:
* About 300 soft coral species, up to half of them thought to be new to science;
* Dozens of small crustacean species – and potentially one or more families – likewise thought unknown to science;
* A rarely sampled amphipod called Maxillipiidae, featuring a bizarre whip-like back leg about three times the size of its body. Only a few
species are recorded worldwide;
* New species of tanaid crustaceans, shrimp-like animals, some with claws longer than their bodies; and
* Scores of tiny amphipod crustaceans – insects of the marine world – of which an estimated 40 to 60 per cent will be formally described for
the first time.
"We were all surprised and excited to find such a large variety of marine life never before described – and in waters that divers access easily and
regularly. It reveals the enormous challenge faced by scientists trying to create an inventory of the vast diversity and abundance of life across all
ocean realms," he said.
One of the methods used was to cut the head off of dead corals. Earlier one thought that they contaned no life at all, but was amazed when they found
over 150 animals in the corals. Globaly dead corals may hold thousands of new species.
[edit on 19-9-2008 by Daniem]