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This Tiny New Crab Species Was Discovered Inside a Mussel

The newly discovered species is a parasite that lives within golden date mussels, where they eat food filtered by the mussel and use its shell for safety.


A new crab species has been discovered in the Solomon Islands, a country in the South Pacific Ocean, where it was spotted by scientists inside the shell of a mussel.

The crab's location inside a mussel was no coincidence. The newly discovered species is a parasite that lives within golden date mussels, where they eat food filtered by the mussel and use its shell for safety.

 

Photo Credit: Zachariah Kobrinsky and David Liittschwager via ZooKeys

 

The itsy-bitsy yellow crustacean is a type of pea crab, a family of crabs that are, on average, about the size of a pea and are typically parasites that use mussels, oysters and other shellfish as their hosts.

Scientists have named the new pea crab species Serenotheres janus after Janus, the Roman god of doorways and beginnings. The god Janus is depicted as being two-faced, and according to a paper published by the discoverers on ZooKeys<, the recently discovered crabs have a large plate on the upper carapace part of their shell that makes them appear to have two-faces.

Scientists aren't yet sure why they have this strange feature on their shell, but as with all new species, there's still a lot to learn about these little crabs.

 

Learn about how you can help vulnerable marine animals by signing up with Oceana.

 

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