Three researchers led by Chao Huang recently scored big when they together visited a Chinese pet store in search of interesting creatures.
In this case, they were looking at the crabs the store had to offer and they found something that looked peculiar about a specific batch of tiny freshwater specimens that interested them.
Image Credit: Hsi-Te Shih
They purchased the whole batch and asked the shop owner where the crabs were from. The owner helped the researchers learn more about where the crabs by leading the scientists right to the spot where they were captured in Guangdong so more could be uncovered about them.
Rather than adding these crabs to a fish tank in their living room like most pet owners might do, the researchers decided they would run some tests on the crabs to learn more about their origins.
Among those tests, mitochondrial DNA sampling from the tissue in their legs was performed to see whether or not the crabs were unique in any way, and it turns out the results came back in a positive way for the researchers.
Not only were scientists looking at a completely new species here, but it turned out to be a completely new genus of crab. The new genus is discussed in a study published in the journal ZooKeys.
The crabs are only about one inch in diameter and they’ve got a piercingly bright orange color to them as well as long and slim legs. These legs probably helped them to get around on the limerock in their natural habitat.
They’ve been given the name Yuebeipotamon calciatile, which means “living on limestone,” as a tribute to where they were found.
DNA has been very important to researchers in previous years in discovering new species of animals around the world, many of which we never would have even been able to tell apart by looks alone.
As our understanding of DNA continues to mature, we may just continue to find out more about the different kinds of specimens walking the Earth today, and perhaps, even in the past.