[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Article on New Phyla from the Lobster Mouth

While not the Nature article, still an interesting news release...



Not very often is a new phylum of animals found, but it does happen as
this report will explain...


The Electronic Telegraph  Thursday 14 December 1995  Home News

New life from the mouths of lobsters

By Roger Highfield, Science Editor

A TINY sac-shaped creature unlike anything else known to scientists has
been found clinging to the lips of the Norway lobster.

The discovery of the bizarre parasite is hailed today as the "zoological
highlight of the decade" by Dr Simon Conway Morris of Cambridge

Symbion pandora is striking because it marks the discovery of a new
phylum, a major taxonomic division, which means its basic body plan is
fundamentally different from anything so far discovered.

Although estimates range from between 30 million and 100 million species
on the planet, there are only around 35 phyla.

"In this century, a new phylum has only been discovered three times,"
said Peter Funch, who with Dr Reinhard Kristensen of the University of
Copenhagen in Denmark provides the first description of the creature in
today's issue of Nature.

The phylum is called Cycliophora, "ringed creature", after its unique
feeding organ - a funnel coated with fine fronds that can steal food
particles from the mouth of its host lobster, to which it clings with a

Scientists say it is remarkable that the creature was found "on our
doorstep", rather than in a remote mountain range or deep in ocean sludge.

"Next time you are at a restaurant, make sure the waiter has a couple of
zoology books and a microscope, said Dr Conway Morris. "Who knows what
might be lurking under the lettuce?"

I wonder what other Phylums this new parasite most resembles?