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A new and spectacular gorgonian-dwelling squat lobster

By Leonard Ho - Posted Nov 19, 2015 09:00 AM
Squat lobsters are neat crustaceans; a Japanese squat lobster that camouflages itself within colorful sea fans is especially awesome. Galathea ryuguu is a newly described species that lives on Muricella sea fans.
A new and spectacular gorgonian-dwelling squat lobster

Galathea ryuguu

Muricella sea fans are known for their striking coloration (ranging from bright orange, pink, red, and purple) and pronounced knobby tubecules.  A lot of reef life associates with Muricella, with the most famous and aww-worthy resident being Bargibant’s pygmy seahorses (see Steinhart Aquarium's baby pygmy seahorses).

Well, pygmy seahorses have a newly discovered roommate.  Galathea ryuguu is a tiny squat lobster found on Muricella sea fans at Ryukyu Islands, Japan.  In order to effectively camouflage into these colorful sea fans, G.ryuguu is equally striking in pigmentation, hence its etymology.  The new species was named after the Japanese folklore Ryūgū, the opulent palace of the dragon god of the sea.

Muricella are micro-metropolises in and of themselves, so an exhibit showcasing these sea fans and the animals they host would be extremely captivating.  Alas, their care should only be attempted by experienced aquarists, and it's difficult nearly impossible for the average hobbyist to source livestock that associates with Muricella.  Maybe one day ...

Galathea ryuguu is described in Zootaxa.

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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