Eight-Legged 'Monster' Found In Canada’s Arctic Ice

Posted: Oct 21 2017, 9:41am CDT | by , Updated: Oct 21 2017, 2:04pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
Eigh-Legged 'Monster' Found in Canada’s Arctic Ice
Credit: Aurelie Delaforge
 

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New species of Monstrilloida zooplankton discovered in Arctic sea ice by accident

Scientists have announced the discovery of a ‘monster’ lurking deep inside Arctic’s sea ice. The bizarre creature has eight legs, a single eye, two antenna-like features placed on its head and no mouth. But thankfully, it is just 2 millimeters long.

The creature belongs to the family of Monstrilloida zooplankton, which already has more than 160 different species floating around the oceans. However, this is the first time such creature was found in Canada’s Arctic ice.

The new species of Monstrilloida zooplankton were collected by a University of Manitoba graduate student in 2014. The student was originally searching for the causes of algal blooms beneath northern sea ice, when she stumbled across an unusual tiny creature.

“Everybody in their job has something that they want to achieve, and for a taxonomist, discovering a new species is pretty special” Researcher Aurelie Delaforge told CBC News.

"You kind of want to be like, 'Oh my god when they're going to speak about that they're going to mention my name because I discovered it.'"

The existence of Monstrilloida zooplankton in the region was never reported before. However, it's not an invasive species, too. The new species is distinguished from others by its body proportions and patterns.

It possibly remained hidden until now because of its inability to appear throughout the year. Outside of the months of May and June, it would be nearly invisible as larvae or busy living as a parasite inside animals like clams and sponges. Though, it kept showing up in the samples collected by Delaforge during her stay on an ice camp in Canada's high arctic.

“This is the second species of this genus recorded in the Arctic, after Monstrillopsis ferrarii described from the White Sea, and is the first record of Monstrillopsis in Canadian waters,” reports journal ZooKeys. “With the addition of this new species and the recognition of Monstrillopsis bernardensis as a member of this genus, the number of nominal species is now 15. Overall, this genus has a tendency to be distributed in temperate and cold waters, while only three species have been found in tropical and subtropical latitudes.”

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