Hawaii Marine Survey Yields Many New Species

Hawaii Marine Survey Yields Many New Species
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Even the tiniest of creatures counted in the recent survey conducted in Hawaii's French Frigate Shoalsright down to this minuscule shrimp.

Measuring a mere 2 millimeters (0.07 inch), this as-yet-unnamed shrimp species features curiously oversized claws, which scientists think could be used for tasks ranging from attracting a mate to battling predators.

Experts are now studying the 2,500 specimens brought back by the research team to determine exactly how many new species were found. Even those that have been seen before could provide crucial clues to how life has developed in this isolated ecosystem, scientists say.

"The discovery phase has really only just begun," expedition member Joel Martin said. "In the coming months, and even over the next several years, we will be conducting  examinations  to further identify and classify these organisms, and possibly to shed some light on where these species originated. …

"[This] may provide insight into how the unique flora and fauna of French Frigate Shoals came to be."

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—Photograph ) Leslie Harris/Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
 
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