Wee Beastie ID - Puget Sound, WA, USA:
Not my photo, but I saw one of these today. Lots of them actually. They were all hiding under rocks on the beach on the Puget Sound. What are they?
Paxon:
Well, okay, yeah… that’s definitely a “Sand Flea” aka “Beach Hopper” aka “Scud”. Or to be more scientific, its an Amphipod, an order of crustaceans. It looks very much to me like a sandhopper in the family Talitridae, like maybe Traskorchestia traskiana, but identifying west coast Amphipods to the species by photo isn’t a specialty of mine, so…
(Alex Stein, http://alex-does-science.tumblr.com, what do you think?)
http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/amphipods.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphipoda

Wee Beastie ID - Puget Sound, WA, USA:

Not my photo, but I saw one of these today. Lots of them actually. They were all hiding under rocks on the beach on the Puget Sound. What are they?

Paxon:

Well, okay, yeah… that’s definitely a “Sand Flea” aka “Beach Hopper” aka “Scud”. Or to be more scientific, its an Amphipod, an order of crustaceans. It looks very much to me like a sandhopper in the family Talitridae, like maybe Traskorchestia traskiana, but identifying west coast Amphipods to the species by photo isn’t a specialty of mine, so…

(Alex Stein, http://alex-does-science.tumblr.com, what do you think?)

http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/amphipods.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphipoda

American Intruder Lurks In Scottish Streams, Clawed And Hungry
by Ari Shapiro
The story starts in the streams and lakes of the northwestern United States, where North American signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) are a familiar sight. Turn over a rock and you may well encounter one.
But in Scottish streams and lochs, these creatures are intruders.
In the United States, we often hear about invasive Asian carp, zebra mussels or snakehead fish from China that take over American waterways. It’s a two-way street: American species are causing chaos in other parts of the world, too.
(In their native North American ecosystems) They eat aquatic insects and larvae; raccoons and herons, in turn, eat them. The system works. But those same crayfish wreak havoc in Scottish waters like Clyde’s Burn — a stream in Scotland where anglers from all over the world come to fish…
(read more: NPR)

American Intruder Lurks In Scottish Streams, Clawed And Hungry

by Ari Shapiro

The story starts in the streams and lakes of the northwestern United States, where North American signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) are a familiar sight. Turn over a rock and you may well encounter one.

But in Scottish streams and lochs, these creatures are intruders.

In the United States, we often hear about invasive Asian carp, zebra mussels or snakehead fish from China that take over American waterways. It’s a two-way street: American species are causing chaos in other parts of the world, too.

(In their native North American ecosystems) They eat aquatic insects and larvae; raccoons and herons, in turn, eat them. The system works. But those same crayfish wreak havoc in Scottish waters like Clyde’s Burn — a stream in Scotland where anglers from all over the world come to fish…

(read more: NPR)

elijahshandseight

chalkandwater:

Mantis shrimp have divided into two distinct groups based on weaponry. 

Smashers have developed hard clubs that they use to crack open hard-shelled prey, while Spearers have long and sharp spines at the tip of their claws for spearing their prey. Both use their weapons with lightning speed, showing that their nickname, “thumb splitters”, is well-earned.

[video]

Geothelphusa cilan • Description of A New Montane Freshwater Crab (Crustacea: Potamidae) from northern Taiwan  [2014]
A new freshwater crab is described from a montane area in northern Taiwan based on morphological characters and molecular evidence. Geothelphusa cilan sp. nov., from the Cilan Forest, situated on the boundary of Hsinchu and Yilan (= Ilan) counties, is close to G. monticola Shy, Ng & Yu, 1994, and G. takuan Shy, Ng & Yu, 1994, but can be distinguished by its male first gonopod (G1) and the ratio of thoracic sternites. Molecular evidence from mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) also supports the identity of the new species.
The specimens were collected from the headstream of Danshuei River (Fig. 2H) near the boundary of Hsinchu and Yilan counties, near Yuanyang Lake Nature Reserve, with an altitude about 2000 m. The mean monthly water temperatures were 10.3–14.6°C during April to December, 2012 (mean 12.6°C) for the adjacent Yuanyang Lake, with the same drainage…
(read more: NovaTaxa - Species New to Science)
reference:
Shy, Jhy-yun, Hsi-te Shih & Jean-jay Mao. 2014. Zootaxa. 3869(5): 565–572. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3869.5.6.http://mapress.com/zootaxa/2014/f/zt03869p572.pdf

Geothelphusa cilan • Description of A New Montane Freshwater Crab (Crustacea: Potamidae) from northern Taiwan  [2014]

A new freshwater crab is described from a montane area in northern Taiwan based on morphological characters and molecular evidence. Geothelphusa cilan sp. nov., from the Cilan Forest, situated on the boundary of Hsinchu and Yilan (= Ilan) counties, is close to G. monticola Shy, Ng & Yu, 1994, and G. takuan Shy, Ng & Yu, 1994, but can be distinguished by its male first gonopod (G1) and the ratio of thoracic sternites. Molecular evidence from mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) also supports the identity of the new species.

The specimens were collected from the headstream of Danshuei River (Fig. 2H) near the boundary of Hsinchu and Yilan counties, near Yuanyang Lake Nature Reserve, with an altitude about 2000 m. The mean monthly water temperatures were 10.3–14.6°C during April to December, 2012 (mean 12.6°C) for the adjacent Yuanyang Lake, with the same drainage…

(read more: NovaTaxa - Species New to Science)

reference:

Shy, Jhy-yun, Hsi-te Shih & Jean-jay Mao. 2014. Zootaxa. 3869(5): 565–572. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3869.5.6.
http://mapress.com/zootaxa/2014/f/zt03869p572.pdf

White Xenia Crab from Indonesia
“Lembeh Strait is a fantastic place to find species that have evolved to resemble other animals or plants to survive. Because of the lens I was using, I had to get really close to this crab. As I moved in, it retreated into the xenia coral polyps. When I backed up, it came back out. The skittish crab, in addition to having the wrong lens for the task, made this a challenging shot.”
— Nature’s Best Photographer, Marli Wakeling
(via: Smithsonian’s Ocean Portal)

White Xenia Crab from Indonesia

“Lembeh Strait is a fantastic place to find species that have evolved to resemble other animals or plants to survive. Because of the lens I was using, I had to get really close to this crab. As I moved in, it retreated into the xenia coral polyps. When I backed up, it came back out. The skittish crab, in addition to having the wrong lens for the task, made this a challenging shot.”

Nature’s Best Photographer, Marli Wakeling

(via: Smithsonian’s Ocean Portal)

ROV (remote operated vehicle) Deep Discoverer’s lights drew a swarm of small crustaceans, in a canyon off the Atlantic coast of the United States. This anemone took full advantage of the free meal. Here, amphipods are captured by the specially adapted stinging cells, called nematocysts, on the anemone’s tentacles.
Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Our Deepwater Backyard: Exploring Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts, 2014.

ROV (remote operated vehicle) Deep Discoverer’s lights drew a swarm of small crustaceans, in a canyon off the Atlantic coast of the United States. This anemone took full advantage of the free meal. Here, amphipods are captured by the specially adapted stinging cells, called nematocysts, on the anemone’s tentacles.

Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Our Deepwater Backyard: Exploring Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts, 2014.

A deep-sea red crab (Chaceon quinquedens) hangs out on a bubblegum coral, in Norfolk Canyon, off the Atlantic Coast of the United States. If you look carefully, you can see a skate egg case on the same branch as the crab and a colony of the white morph of bubblegum coral in the background.
Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Our Deepwater Backyard: Exploring Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts - 2014.

A deep-sea red crab (Chaceon quinquedens) hangs out on a bubblegum coral, in Norfolk Canyon, off the Atlantic Coast of the United States. If you look carefully, you can see a skate egg case on the same branch as the crab and a colony of the white morph of bubblegum coral in the background.

Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Our Deepwater Backyard: Exploring Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts - 2014.

libutron
libutron:

Halloween Crabs (Gecarcinus quadratus): Ecosystem Engineers
The so called Halloween Crab, Gecarcinus quadratus (Decapoda - Gecarcinidae) is a neotropical land crab with a distinctive patterning; the upper carapace seems completely black (actually dark brown when examined closely), the body and limbs are a bright orange-red, two bright yellow to white triangular spots decorate the front of the upper carapace, and the claws are purple.
The species is distributed along Pacific shorelines from Mexico to Peru. Some authors have treated Gecarcinus quadratus as a subspecies of Gecarcinus lateralis (the Atlantic species), or as synonym with Gecarcinus lateralis, while others have maintained Gecarcinus quadratus as a valid species.  
Whatever, these crabs play an important ecological role on its tropical environment and is regarded as an engineering species that controls nutrient cycling in tropical forests. Gecarcinus quadratus and other similar species of land crabs process large quantities of leaf litter, thereby influencing nutrient cycling. They alter the structure of plant communities through selective consumption of seeds and seedlings, and their burrows provide habitat for obligatory and facultative arthropod symbionts. Based on the direct and indirect influences of the land crabs on resource availability, as well as their modification of habitat, they can be considered allogenic ecosystem engineers. 
References: [1] - [2] - [3]
Photo credit: ©Eduardo Mena | Locality: Bejuco, Guanacaste, Costa Rica (2010)

HUZZAH MOTHERFUCKERS!!!

libutron:

Halloween Crabs (Gecarcinus quadratus): Ecosystem Engineers

The so called Halloween Crab, Gecarcinus quadratus (Decapoda - Gecarcinidae) is a neotropical land crab with a distinctive patterning; the upper carapace seems completely black (actually dark brown when examined closely), the body and limbs are a bright orange-red, two bright yellow to white triangular spots decorate the front of the upper carapace, and the claws are purple.

The species is distributed along Pacific shorelines from Mexico to Peru. Some authors have treated Gecarcinus quadratus as a subspecies of Gecarcinus lateralis (the Atlantic species), or as synonym with Gecarcinus lateralis, while others have maintained Gecarcinus quadratus as a valid species.  

Whatever, these crabs play an important ecological role on its tropical environment and is regarded as an engineering species that controls nutrient cycling in tropical forests. Gecarcinus quadratus and other similar species of land crabs process large quantities of leaf litter, thereby influencing nutrient cycling. They alter the structure of plant communities through selective consumption of seeds and seedlings, and their burrows provide habitat for obligatory and facultative arthropod symbionts. Based on the direct and indirect influences of the land crabs on resource availability, as well as their modification of habitat, they can be considered allogenic ecosystem engineers. 

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Eduardo Mena | Locality: Bejuco, Guanacaste, Costa Rica (2010)

HUZZAH MOTHERFUCKERS!!!

cool-critters

cool-critters:

Candy crab (Hoplophrys oatesi)

The candy crab is a very colourful crab that grows from 1.5 to 2 cm. It lives on various species of soft coral in the Dendronephthya genus.

It camouflages itself by mimicing the colours of the polyps among which it hides. It adds further camouflage by attaching polyps to its carapace. Colours vary depending on the colour of the coral, and may be white, pink, yellow or red. This crab is widespread in the Indo-Pacific and it feeds on plankton.

photo credits: digimuse, Brian Maye, divemecressi

Crayfish Turn Blood Cells into Brain Cells
by Christie Lepisto
… Scientists (have been) studying crayfish, which continuously regenerate neurons in their sensitive smelling organs and exposed eyestalks. Studying the process, known as neurogenesis, in crayfish could help us understand how humans maintain their brain health, and where the process goes wrong.
Scientists found that crayfish have a natural circuit for harboring blood cells similar to our white blood cells in a ‘nursery’ where they are turned into neurons. The cells are converted to have properties of stem cells, which allows them to be reprogrammed to become neurons.
What surprised scientists in this discovery is the link between the immune system and the regeneration of neurons. The blood cells converted to neurons in crayfish, called hemocytes, are produced by the immune system, in a process that parallels the production of white blood cells that are the front-line troops of the human immune system. In the words of co-auther Dr. Irene Söderhäll, of Uppsala University in Sweden..
(read more: TreeHugger)
photograph by Coniferconifer/Flickr

Crayfish Turn Blood Cells into Brain Cells

by Christie Lepisto

… Scientists (have been) studying crayfish, which continuously regenerate neurons in their sensitive smelling organs and exposed eyestalks. Studying the process, known as neurogenesis, in crayfish could help us understand how humans maintain their brain health, and where the process goes wrong.

Scientists found that crayfish have a natural circuit for harboring blood cells similar to our white blood cells in a ‘nursery’ where they are turned into neurons. The cells are converted to have properties of stem cells, which allows them to be reprogrammed to become neurons.

What surprised scientists in this discovery is the link between the immune system and the regeneration of neurons. The blood cells converted to neurons in crayfish, called hemocytes, are produced by the immune system, in a process that parallels the production of white blood cells that are the front-line troops of the human immune system. In the words of co-auther Dr. Irene Söderhäll, of Uppsala University in Sweden..

(read more: TreeHugger)

photograph by Coniferconifer/Flickr

First Video of Living and Enormous Deep Sea Crustacean

Well, enormous for an Amphipod…

by Sandrine Ceurstemont

Living in one of the Earth’s deepest ocean trenches, the world’s largest species of amphipod has so far managed to avoid the videos of the paparazzi. But during an expedition to the Kermadec trench off the coast of New Zealand in April, Alan Jamieson from the University of Aberdeen, UK, and his colleagues filmed a living Alicella gigantean for the first time, more than 7 kilometres below the ocean surface.

The video captures a feeding frenzy of deep-sea snailfish, Notoliparis kermadecensis sociable fish that are well-adapted to the extreme pressure, total darkness and cold temperatures at such depths.

Cruising along the left-hand side of the video, the white shrimp-like creature is the newly spotted Alicella gigantea. It is between 20 and 25 centimetres long, 10 times larger than similar amphipods discovered in other deep-sea locations – although Jamieson previously snapped, but did not video, an even bigger one – a 34-centimetre giant…

(read more: New Scientist)

NOAA:  Close encounters of the crabby kind! 
Squat lobster, seen in 2011 during the Okeanos Explorer Galápagos Rift Expedition.  In 1977, scientists discovered deep-sea hydrothermal vents and associated organisms on the Galápagos Rift, profoundly changing our view of the deep sea and revolutionizing the biological and Earth sciences. Our 2011 expedition provided scientists, engineers, and the public with an opportunity to explore unseen areas and revisit the rift sites that changed our view of life on Earth. Here’s a summary of all that was accomplished: 
NOAA Ocean Explorer

NOAA:  Close encounters of the crabby kind!

Squat lobster, seen in 2011 during the Okeanos Explorer Galápagos Rift Expedition.

In 1977, scientists discovered deep-sea hydrothermal vents and associated organisms on the Galápagos Rift, profoundly changing our view of the deep sea and revolutionizing the biological and Earth sciences. Our 2011 expedition provided scientists, engineers, and the public with an opportunity to explore unseen areas and revisit the rift sites that changed our view of life on Earth.

Here’s a summary of all that was accomplished:

NOAA Ocean Explorer