Dig it! Two new shrimp species found in burrows at the bottom of the Gulf of California

May 12, 2017, Pensoft Publishers
A female specimen of the new shrimp species Alpheus margaritae. Credit: Dr. José Salgado-Barragán

Although the Santa María-La Reforma lagoon complex in the Gulf of California is one of the most important areas for shrimp fishery, little is known about the crustacean species that live in the burrows dug in the bottom.

In addition to presenting two new to science, researchers Drs. José Salgado-Barragán, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Manuel Ayón-Parente and Pilar Zamora-Tavares, both affiliated with Universidad de Guadalajara, México collaborated to build on the knowledge of small species living there. The study is published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

Over the span of about two years - between 2013 and 2015, the scientists conducted series of surveys of the bottom-dwelling crustaceans in Bahía Santa María-La Reforma lagoon, located in the southwest Gulf of California. Following a thorough examination of the collected specimens, they recorded five shrimp species of three genera, inhabiting burrows dug into either mud, sand, or sandy-mud. Two of these species turned out to be previously unknown.

One of the is named Alpheus margaritae after Dr. Margarita Hermoso-Salazar, a caridean shrimp expert who helped the authors with the identification of the species. This new crustacean lives in the intertidal zone, where it hides in soft mud and gravel of shells and rocks. So far, it is known exclusively from the coastal lagoon Bahía Santa María-La Reforma, Sinaloa, Mexico. Among its characteristic traits are creamy-white colouration splashed with sparse olive green to light brown patches.

The second new species, Leptalpheus melendezensis, is reported to live in the fine sand of the beach. It is named after the Melendez island - the only locality the species has been identified from. Unlike the rest seven members of its genus (Leptalpheus), its major cheliped lacks adhesive disks.

Explore further: New species of terrestrial crab found climbing on trees in Hong Kong

More information: José Salgado-Barragán et al, New records and description of two new species of carideans shrimps from Bahía Santa María-La Reforma lagoon, Gulf of California, Mexico (Crustacea, Caridea, Alpheidae and Processidae), ZooKeys (2017). DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.671.9081

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