Uniquely adapted to living in surface springs, this new, unnamed crustacean in the Austrochiltonia
genus is found only in the Great Artesian Basin of South Australia.
The tiny creature is at risk of extinction should its native springs be disturbed by mining or agriculture, said scientists who recently conducted a four-year survey of Australia's underground habitats.
Overall, many of the 850 new species identified during the survey were found near towns, the researchers said.
"What we've found is that you don't have to go searching in the depths of the ocean to discover new species of invertebrate animals--you just have to look in your own backyard," team member Andy Austin, of the University of Adelaide, said in a statement.
Photograph courtesy Australian Centre for Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity, University of Adelaide