Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Five new Fast and Furious Ferrari shrimps at the Southern Expedition

Dr Shane Ahyong shares great news about the first discovery of five species of mantis shrimps from Singapore waters at the Southern Expedition! One of them, a coral reef mantis shrimp is probably new to science.
Photo by Dr Arthur Anker
What are mantis shrimps? And why are they the Ferraris of the Sea? Here's more about these intriguing creatures, shared by Dr Shane Ahyong of the Australian Museum.


First discovery of five species of mantis shrimps from Singapore waters
by Dr Shane Ahyong

Mantis shrimps, which look something like a small lobster with the claws of a praying mantis, are fearsome underwater predators. A claim to fame of the mantis shrimp is its lightning-fast strike with its special claws, which holds the underwater speed record at about 5000th of a second – they seldom miss their prey.

We’ve had some exciting finds even in the first week of the expedition with the first Singapore records for five species of mantis shrimps. Their names are Levisquilla jurichi, Quollastria subtilis, Acanthosquilla derijardi (pictured above), Alachosquilla vicina and Gonodactylellus sp.

The first four live in the sand and mud of the seabed, and the fifth species (Gonodactylellus sp.) lives deep in crevices amongst the rocks and coral.

More excitingly, this coral reef mantis shrimp is probably new to science, but so far, we have captured only one specimen of this elusive animal. We need more specimens to confirm whether our suspicions, so a special effort will be made to find them. Hopefully we’ll have more news in the coming week. The quest is on!

We are all learning so much from Dr Shane during the Southern Expedition. Here he is patiently explaining to volunteer Ivan Kwan how to ID the various mantis shrimps seen on Singapore shores.
Ivan recently blogged about Singapore's mantis shrimps, inspired by the awesome comic strip by The Oatmeal. Thanks also to Ivan for the snazzy title to this blog post.
This is just some of the many exciting finds during the Southern Expedition.

Volunteer sign up for the Southern Expedition are already closed due to limited places and early logistical arrangements needed for participation.

But no worries, you CAN still join the Survey! Lots of surveys will continue after the Expedition, just at a less frenzied rate. There will be lots of other opportunities for volunteers to participate in dredging, field surveys as well as laboratory sessions. To join the Mega Marine Survey, register your interest in this form and you'll be invited to join the mailing list to receive updates on the Survey and sign up for Survey activities.  Also check out the FAQs for more about the Survey.


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