27 Feb 2014

Niwa finds new species of crustacean

8:52 am on 27 February 2014

Niwa scientists have discovered a new species of crustacean living inside another organism.

Close-ups of the new species.

Close-ups of the new species. Photo: NIWA

It was found inside an aquatic moss animal at Niwa's laboratory.

The moss, which came from the Chatham Rise, an area of water east of the South Island, is usually found in waters between 500 and 1500 metres deep.

The female crustacean, which is about a centimetre long, was seen inside a transparent layer of the moss.

The scientists believe the tiny creature makes a slit in the back of the moss and goes inside with a male to reproduce.

Niwa says it's an important discovery, because not much is known about relationships among organisms in the deep sea. It has named the new species tutus, meaning safe.