The WWF Japan discovers a new species of numa-ebi in the sea off Kumejima

The WWF Japan discovers a new species of numa-ebi in the sea off Kumejima

The new species of numa-ebi was collected from an underwater limestone cave at Kumejima Island (photograph courtesy of Yoshihisa Fujita).

June 3, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

On June 2, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Japan announced that it has discovered a new species of numa-ebi, or Atyidae shrimp, during field research carried at Kumejima Island in February. The numa-ebi species normally inhabits the freshwater of lakes and rivers but the one species discovered at Kumejima was found living in seawater. This is an unprecedented case anywhere in the world.

The shrimp were collected by a team of marine biology researchers including Yoshihisa Fujita, a part-time lecturer at Ryukyu University and other institutions, who were during field work carried out as part of the WWF Japan “Kumejima Backup Project.”
The numa-ebi was found in an underwater cave about 35 meters deep. It is one centimeter in length and has degenerate eyes.

Among the Ryukyu Islands, Kumejima has a high level of biodiversity with some parts of the island being registered as a site in the Ramsar Convention. WWF Japan selected the island as a part of a priority biodiversity conservation area within the Ryukyu Islands.

Fujita said, “We expected that a new species would be found, because a new species of crab was found in the very same place about 10 years ago. With help from divers, we would like to continue this research.”
A conference presentation will be delivered on June 4 in the science complex building of Ryukyu University.

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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