Thursday, 27 November 2014

'Star-gazing' shrimp discovered in South Africa

(Reuters) - A tiny shrimp equipped with large, candy-striped eyes to ward off predators has been discovered in South African waters, the University of Cape Town said on Friday.

The 10-15 mm-long crustacean has been christened the "star-gazer mysid" as its eyes seem to gaze permanently upwards. Similar to insects' eyes, they each look in a different direction.

"The vivid ringed patterns are thought to be there to make the eyes appear to belong to a much bigger creature, and hence to scare off predators," the university said.

It is officially named Mysidopsis zsilaveczi after Guido Zsilavecz, the underwater photographer who discovered it.
The university's senior marine biologist, Charles Griffiths, could not identify the species when Zsilavecz brought it to him and so samples were sent to an expert in Vienna.

Zsilavecz also recently found a new type of nudibranch, a soft-bodied sea slug, around Cape Town, a city situated at the meeting of the Indian and Atlantic oceans.

"It's amazing that we're still finding so many new species in heavily dived waters such as False Bay, right on our doorstep," Griffiths said.

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