Hitchhiking sea creature - that can’t swim - turns out to be a new species in Japan

miamiherald.com -- Sep 12

Scientists hauled in their nets off the coast of Japan. Sifting through their catch, they noticed a small, “translucent” sea creature on the surface of a starfish. The hitchhiker turned out to be a new species.

Researchers trawled the depths near Tohoku on several surveys in April 2022, according to a study published Aug. 31 in the Journal of Crustacean Biology.

They hauled in starfish, sea anemone and snails but it was a much smaller animal that caught their attention. The trawls had captured 18 tiny marine invertebrates, the study said.

After taking a closer look, researchers realized they had discovered a new species: Janiralata plana. Janiralata are a group of marine isopods and invertebrate animals classified as crustaceans, researchers said. Janiralata species are parasitic, but they are thought to be “detritivores,” attaching to a host to eat any collected waste or debris.

The new species was found in the Pacific Ocean between depths of about 1,400 feet to about 5,100 feet near Tohoku, researchers said. ...continue reading