OMG!! This tanaid -tiny clawed crustaceans- is one of the cutest I’ve seen on my entire life!! Called Macrolabru maui, is the first pagurapseuid species for New Zealand, it was discovered this year by Scientists at NIWA
Tanaids are related to hoppers and slaters, but are only distant cousing to the hermit crabs in the crustacean family tree. They have this conchicolid (shell-loving) specialisation, this family is called Pagurapseudidae (something like false hermit crabs).
From Tokomaru Bay, on the Northern New Zealand, this species has adapted to living in micro mollusc with shells less than 5 mm diameters so they are actually pretty tiny creatures, easily missed by people looking for them at the beach
bae Macrolabrun maui out of its shell
It was named after two different ‘Maui’s’.
- The Māori mythological character Maui, whom emerged from the sea wrapped up in seaweed by spirits, alluding to the fact that the new species was found amongst coralline and brown algae.
- Because a well-known holiday camper-van hire firm in New Zealand alluding to the use of the gastropod shell as a mobile home in this family.