A star gazing shrimp discovered off the South African coast has animal enthusiasts in awe of nature’s creation this week. This new shrimp species has its eyes eternally turned up to the sky, and equally interesting is the creature’s unique color scheme — much like that of candy cane stripes. Stabroek News shares this Saturday, November 22, 2014, that this coloring is likely used to keep potential predators at bay.
Animal experts and the public at large may want to keep their sights set on a star gazing shrimp discovered near the University of Cape Town. The small shrimp themselves, of course, will likely keep their own eyes intent on the sky. School officials have confirmed that this candy cane striped animal is being called a star-gazer mysid for its body structure and eyes perpetually turned upward.
The crustacean is only a dozen millimeters long, but it is stirring some big excitement. The star gazing shrimp might not be closely related to insects, but much like them, its red-and-white eyes look in varying directions. The reason for the animals’ festive colors is an interesting one important to their survival. The ringed appearance is apparently designed to help the shrimp look bigger than it really is to potential predators.
“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. They are constantly shifting, but are always looking up at the sky.
According to a report from News Max this Friday, the species has been named in honor of a photographer who first found the star gazing shrimp underwater, Guido Zsilavecz. After being “officially” discovered, the tiny crustaceans are being called Mysidopsis zsilaveczi.
The head marine biologist of the University of Cape Town in South Africa, Charles Griffiths, suspected this interesting looking shrimp might very well be a new species because he was unable to identify it, despite his many years of experience. The specimens of these shrimp found off the coast were then transferred to an expert biologist in Vienna for confirmation.
A new type of sea slug was apparently also found in the distant waters of the Indian and Atlantic Ocean intersection, leading authorities to think there may be many more creatures to be found in the area. What’s most surprising of all is that in addition to these shrimp and slugs, there many be many more animals just waiting to be uncovered in the water — right under our noses.
“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 concluded. He hopes to locate more in the coming years.
These candy cane colored, star gazing shrimp discovered looking to the sky aren’t the only interesting animals making news this weekend. A unique Peruvian glow worm is also lighting up headlines, as this possible new species uses its bioluminescence to cleverly ensnare its prey. Scientists said that these predators are particularly interesting because despite their small size, they have very large jaws, and quite literally “burst” from the ground in order to catch a meal.