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Tiny shrimp discovered living in the mouth of whale sharks

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.

By Bob Miller

Bob was Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Denver from 2011-2018 and now works as a practicing psychiatrist. As a passionate scientist, he founded the website fusionscienceacademy.com in early 2019 with the goal of delivering accurate and useful scientific reporting, and has since built it up as a valuable publication. While his field is in psychology, Bob also has a strong general understanding of many other fields in health, astronomy and applied science, and is able to write in a way that is easily understandable to the layman.

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