A new species of gammarid (Gammaridea), a suborder of amphipod crustaceans, was discovered by a Japanese researcher from the University of Hiroshima in a rather unusual environment. The new species, later named Podocerus jinbe, was in fact discovered in the mouth of a whale shark, a discovery that surprised Ko Tomikawa himself, the researcher who made the study.
3-5 cm long, this species of crustacean can live in different diametric types but the one related to the mouth of a whale shark is probably the strangest of all. Brown in color and with hairy legs to more easily capture organic substances, this new species has been classified according to the findings in the mouth of a whale shark Rhincodon typus off the village of Yomitan, on the island of Okinawa. This is the first time an amphipod is found attached to the body of a whale shark.
Morphologically it is very similar to Podocerus zeylanicus: it differs from the latter only in body sizes a little larger and for other morphological details.
The discovery was carried out in collaboration with the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium and the University of Tromso (Norway). The study was published in Species Diversity.