By: Earnest Jones | 10-21-2017 | News
Photo credit: Aurelie Delaforge | University of Manitoba

Eight-Legged Mini-Monster Discovered Prowling Under the Canadian Arctic Sea Ice

The compelling discovery was first made by a PhD student of the University of Manitoba at the Centre for Earth Observation Science in 2014. The student discovered a new form of Monstrilloida zooplankton in the icy waters of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.

The new species was found paddling along the subsurface of the Arctic Ocean, marking the first of its kind in Canada. Aurelie Delaforge, University of Manitoba PhD student at the Centre for Earth Observation Science.

There are more than 160 different species of these "mini monsters" that exist around the world, however, none were known to live in Canada, until now Delaforge made the discovery.

The new discovery was published in the ZooKeys journals on Thursday, it details Delaforge’s discovery of "the first record of Monstrillopsis in Canadian waters."

"When we study the Arctic, there are still things we don’t know. This is a good example," Delaforge said in a press release.

The new crustacean, known as Monstrilloida zooplankton, has eight legs, its two millimeters, has one feeble eye, a translucent body, two antennae, and no mouth.

The new species was aptly named after the word “monster” due to its uncanny appearance or, in the case of Canada’s new Monstrillopsis planifrons, "flat-headed monster."

The crustacean is known to have drifted below the Arctic Ocean for a while. As noted by Delaforge and her colleagues, the initial discovery of the species’ presence in the Artic was made back in 2004.

The species were first uncovered by Delaforge while he was taking ocean samples for her PhD thesis, that was mainly focused on the cause of plankton blooms under sea ice. Delaforge’s timing was ideal, he collected the samples during May and June, the two-month span of time where these plankton take their adult form. During other periods of the year, it would have been almost invisible to trace.

The specimen’s identity was confirmed after Delaforge sent it to Mexico. “I find this pretty cool,” Delaforge said "It’s not an everyday thing, discovering new species, and it feels incredible."


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