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Skeleton Shrimp: A See-through Crustacean
Top 10 New Species of 2014

  • Photo of Liropus male
    Photo Credit: SINC (Servicio de Informacion y Noticias CientÌficas) and J.M. Guerra-García

  • Photo of Liropus male
    Photo Credit: SINC (Servicio de Informacion y Noticias CientÌficas) and J.M. Guerra-García

  • Drawings of Liropus female and male
    Photo Credit: SINC (Servicio de Informacion y Noticias CientÌficas) and J.M. Guerra-García

Skeleton Shrimp: A See-through Crustacean
Top 10 New Species of 2014

About the Skeleton Shrimp

Name: Liropus minusculus

Family: Caprellidae

Kingdom: Animalia

How it made the Top 10: This tiny shrimp, the smallest in the genus, was identified from among specimens originally collected from a cave on that island of romance, sunny Santa Catalina, off the coast of Southern California. Part of a marine family known as skeleton shrimp, only distantly related to the ones some humans love to dip in cocktail sauce, this crustacean is the first of its genus to be reported in the northeastern Pacific. The new species has an eerie, translucent appearance that makes it resemble a bony structure. The male's body measures just 3.3 millimeters (about an eighth of an inch); the female is even smaller at 2.1 (less than a tenth of an inch).

Etymology: The specific name minusculus refers to the small size of the specimens, which is the smallest species of Liropus.

Type material: Holotype and paratype at Canadian Museum of Nature (CMN), Ottawa, Canada

Type locality: A small cave at Isthmus Reef, Santa Catalina Island. California, USA

Reference: Guerra-García JM, Hendrycks EA. 2013. A new species of Liropus (Crustacea, Amphipoda, Caprellidae) from California, USA, with an illustrated key of the genus. Zootaxa 3718: 467–476.

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