Friday 9 December 2016

Epimeria abyssalis: A new species of Amphipod Crustacean from the Kuril-Kamchatka Trench.

Amphipods are small Crustaceans found in almost all modern marine ecosystems, as well as many freshwater environments; most freshwater 'Shrimps' are Amphipods, as are the semi-terrestrial Sandhoppers.Members of the genus Epimeria are cosmopolitan in distribution, having been found from the intertidal zone to the deep ocean floor at depths as low as 3710 m. These are large Amphipods reaching several centimeters in length, and notable for their often bright colours and spiney exoskeletons.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 8 December 2016, Michitaka Shimomura of the Kitakyushu Museum of Natural History and Human History and Ko Tomikawa of the Graduate School of Education at Hiroshima University describe a new species of Epimeria from the Kuril-Kamchatka Trench, the first species in this group recorded from the abyssal depths of the ocean trenches.

The new species is named Epimeria abyssalis, in reference to the depths at which it was found. It is described from specimens collected at depths of 5473–5484 m by the Remote Vessel Hakuho-Maru, of the Ocean Research Institute of the University of Tokyo in 2001. The species is described from three specimens, two females 47 and 53 mm in length and a juvenile 22 mm long. They are only slightly spinney, and a dull creamy-brown in colour. 

Epimeria abyssalis female specimen photographed on boardshortly after sampling. Scale bar is 10 mm. Shimomura & Tomikawa (2016).

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