A new species of isopod has been found in the depths of the Gulf, according to research recently published in the Journal of Natural History.
The discovery was made by a team of scientists from Taiwan, Japan, and Australia. The new species was found at a depth of 600 meters/1800ft to 800 meters/240ft and brings the number of isopods identified in the Gulf of Mexico to three.
The researchers initially thought the new species were a subspecies of B. giganteus. However, after closer examination at the Enoshima Aquarium in Japan, where the sample was held, scientists realized that it was a new species named B. yucatanensis.
According to the scientists in their published work:
“Bathynomus giganteus was discovered over a century ago, and more than 1,000 specimens have been studied with no suggestion until now of a second species with the same number of pleotelsonic spines…Superficial examination, using only pleotelson spines, could easily result in specimens of B. yucatanensis being misidentified as B. giganteus.”
“B. giganteus is indeed the species closest to B. yucatanensis…This indicates that the two species likely had a common ancestor. Additionally, there may also be other undiscovered Bathynomus spp. in the tropical western Atlantic.”
You can find the original research paper here.