Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Oceanic mystery solved: Connection between 'monster larva' and unique species of shrimp

Date:
August 27, 2012
Source:
George Washington University
Summary:
The origin of Cerataspis monstrosa has been a mystery as deep as the ocean waters it hails from. For nearly two centuries, researchers have tried to track down the larva that has shown up in the guts of other fish over time but found no adult counterpart. Until now.

Cerataspis monstrosa, on the left, and Plesiopenaeus armatus, on the right.
Credit: Darryl L. Felder

The origin of Cerataspis monstrosa has been a mystery as deep as the ocean waters it hails from. For nearly two centuries, researchers have tried to track down the larva that has shown up in the guts of other fish over time but found no adult counterpart. Until now.

George Washington University Biology Professor Keith Crandall cracked the code to the elusive crustacean's DNA this summer. His findings were recently published in the journal Ecology and Evolution, and his research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative. In it, Dr. Crandall, the senior author of the paper, explains how "monster larva" and the deep-water aristeid shrimp known as Plesiopenaeus armatus are one in the same: larvae and adult forms of the same species.

Attempts to find the adult incarnation of the larva weren't without significant effort over the span of time. The crustacean's ability to morph into a shrimp bearing no resemblance to its juvenile form was a challenge as externally, the two couldn't be more different.

C. monstrosa, pictured on the left, has heavy armor, a thick body and exceptional horn ornamentation. Described as "monstrous and misshapen animal," it is the preferred meal for its predators such as skipjack, yellowfin and blackfin tuna and dolphin. The Plesiopenaeus, on the right, resembles a lobster or crab with its red, enclosed exterior and is elusive. It calls the deep sea waters such as the Atlantic Ocean home but finding the specimen to make a match has proven to be difficult for zoologists.

Dr. Crandall said it was not until the late 19th century that researchers started to suspect a link between the Cerataspis and some of the deep sea shrimp. Mid-water oceanic collections in the northern Gulf of Mexico unexpectedly included a single specimen of C. monstrosa for genetic analyses.

"Because previous studies suggested an affinity between Cerataspis and penaeoid shrimp, and more specifically the family Aristeidae, we sampled heavily within these groups," he said. The Crandall lab has been collecting crustacean DNA sequence data for a number of years and therefore had an excellent reference database to compare the Cerataspis DNA.

That's when analysis placed the larva and the deep-sea shrimp as one in the same.

"It's very exciting to have solved a nearly 200-year-old conundrum," said Dr. Crandall. "This was a project that involved having good luck with obtaining the sample, exceptional field knowledge to preserve the specimen and know that it was something special, outstanding state-of-the-art molecular and analytical tools to collect unique data that have only been available in the last 10 years to answer this question and to have an outstanding database of reference sequences to compare against."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also supported some of the research by providing financial support for the ship time, ship, crew members and collection resources.

"Larval-adult linkages not only aid in our understanding of biodiversity, they provide insights into the life history, distribution and ecology of an organism," said Dr. Crandall.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by George Washington University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Heather D. Bracken-Grissom, Darryl L. Felder, Nicole L. Vollmer, Joel W. Martin, Keith A. Crandall. Phylogenetics links monster larva to deep-sea shrimp. Ecology and Evolution, 2012; DOI: 10.1002/ece3.347

Cite This Page:

George Washington University. "Oceanic mystery solved: Connection between 'monster larva' and unique species of shrimp." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120827152052.htm>.
George Washington University. (2012, August 27). Oceanic mystery solved: Connection between 'monster larva' and unique species of shrimp. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120827152052.htm
George Washington University. "Oceanic mystery solved: Connection between 'monster larva' and unique species of shrimp." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120827152052.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) How to make a pumpkin pom-pom. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Shoppers at an Oregon drug store were surprised by a bear cub scurrying down the aisles this past weekend. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) The Johnson family lost their battle with the Chesterfield County, Virginia Planning Commission to allow Tucker, their pet pig, to stay in their home, but refuse to let the board keep Tucker away. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins