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NEW SQUAT LOBSTER SPECIES

A new squat lobster species has been identified in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. The sampled specimens were found in black corals (Tanacetipathes sp.) collected by Marissa Nuttall as part of a Deep Fish Habitat study in the sanctuary.

Tiny lobsters hidden in the branches of a black coral sample that is laid out next to ruler for size comparison
Two specimens of the new squat lobster species were found in one branch of a black coral sample. The scale shown is in millimeters. (Image: FGBNMS/Nuttall)

Uroptychus marissae, named for Marissa, was found in about 90 meters (295 feet) of water.

A squat lobster displayed in three parts, with the main body to the left and two pincers to the right, all next to a ruler for scale
Unfortunately, when this specimen was removed from the coral, the two pincers fell off. This is a defense mechanism common to many crustaceans. The scale on the bottom is in millimeters. (Image: FGBNMS/Nuttall)

The paper on this new species, Uroptychus minutus Benedict, 1902 and a closely related new species (Crustacea: Anomura: Chirostylidae) from the western Atlantic Ocean, was published May 14, 2015 in Zootaxa.

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