They gracefully swim through the complete darkness of submarine caves, constantly on the lookout for prey. Instead of eyes, predatory crustaceans of the class Remipedia rely on long antennae which search the lightless void in all directions. Like some type of science fiction monster, their head is equipped with powerful prehensile limbs and poisonous fangs.
Accordingly, the translations of their Latin names sound menacing. There is the "Secret Club Bearer" (Cryptocorynetes) or the "Beautiful Hairy Sea Monster" (Kaloketos pilosus). The names of some genera were inspired by Japanese movie monsters, for example, the "Swimming Mothra" (Pleomothra), the "Strong Godzilla" (Godzillius robustus) or the "Gnome Godzilla" (Godzilliognomus).
During a cave diving expedition to explore the Tunnel de la Atlantida, the world's longest submarine lava tube on Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, an international team of scientists and cave divers have discovered a previously unknown species of crustacean, belonging to the remipede genus Speleonectes, and two new species of annelid worms of the class Polychaeta.
The team consisted of scientists from Texas A&M University and Pennsylvania State University in the U.S., the University of La Laguna in Spain, and the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover and University of Hamburg, both in Germany. The extensive results of the Atlantida Diving Expedition will be presented in a special issue of the Springer journal Marine Biodiversity, comprising seven articles, to be published in September 2009.
The newly discovered species of Remipedia was named Speleonectes atlantida, after the cave system it inhabits. It is morphologically very similar to Speleonectes ondinae, a remipede that has been known from the same lava tube since 1985. Based on DNA comparisons, the group of Prof. Stefan Koenemann from the Institute for Animal Ecology
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