New crustacean parasites

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Recently, research conducted at the University of Kerala has led to the unprecedented discovery of a new crustacean family off the Indian coast.

About New crustacean parasites

  • Researchers have named the new family Uranoscopicolaidae.
  • This is also the first discovery and description of a new crustacean family from India.
  • This parasitic copepod was found to depend upon the Dollfus’ Stargazer (Uranoscopus guttatus), a fish dwelling in depths ranging from 300-550 m off the southwest Indian coast.
  • The discovery of the new family has also led to the creation of a new genus and species, Hirodai ohstukai under it.
  • These parasitic copepods are known to infest a wide range of hosts, from sponges to marine mammals.
  • New isopod species which has been named Glyptothoa sagara; ‘Glypto’ as the fish parasite was found in the deep sea fish Glyptophidium macropus, and ‘sagara’ for ocean.
  • Another new isopod crustacean parasite species named Elthusa aquabio was collected from an unknown fish. 
  • The fourth new species is a 11-12 mm “flesh-penetrating parasitic copepod,” which has been named as Cardiodectes vampire.
  • It was found to infest the deep-sea fish Chlorophthalmus corniger. 

What are crustaceans?

  • These are members of the subphylum Crustacea (phylum Arthropoda),
  • They are found in a wide range of habitats - most are free-living freshwater or marine animals, but some are terrestrial.
  • They are invertebrates with a hard exoskeleton (carapace), a segmented body that is bilaterally symmetrical, more than four pairs of jointed appendages ("legs") and an open circulatory system.
  • Examples: Crabs, lobsters, shrimps, and wood lice etc.

Q1) What are Copepods?

These are a group of small crustaceans that are important members of aquatic ecosystems. They belong to the subclass Copepoda within the class Maxillopoda. Copepods are found in various aquatic environments, including freshwater and marine systems. They play a crucial role in the food web as both primary consumers and prey for larger organisms.

Source: New crustacean parasites found off India