Researchers' Discovery of Five New Deep-sea Squat Lobster Species Calls for Revision of Current Classification
Published:28 Jan.2023    Source:ScienceDaily
Munidopsid squat lobsters (from the family Munidopsidae) are among the most abundant decapods found at abyssal depths of the ocean. They are the most diverse squat lobster group in the East Pacific region and make their homes in one of the harshest ocean environments.
Every year dozens of new species are described, especially for deep-sea squat lobsters. In a new study in Invertebrate Systematics researchers in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (OEB) at Harvard University describe five new deep-sea squat lobster species. Combining molecular data and microCT their findings show a wider species distribution range and shallower genetic diversity, calling for a revision of the current classification of squat lobsters.

The researchers reconstructed the phylogeny of approximately 170 specimens from the Pacific coast, the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. They found a general pattern in which specimens living below one thousand meters present shallower genetic distances and an overall wider geographic distribution range. Especially when we compare with the related species that live in four hundred meters or shallower depths. From the reconstruction they found that the current systematics of squat lobsters needed a revision.