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“Star-gazing” shrimp discovered in South Africa

“Star-gazing” shrimp discovered in South Africa
Stargazer: The new species of shrimp named after University of Cape Town alumnus and computer scientist Guido Zsilavecz who discovered it, and described by Emeritus Professor Charles Griffith in a co-authored paper with Prof Karl Wittmann of the University of Vienna. Photo: Guido Zsilavecz

“Star-gazing” shrimp discovered in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG — A tiny shrimp equipped with large, candy-striped eyes to ward off predators has been discovered in South African waters, the University of Cape Town said today (Nov 21).

The 10mm to 15mm long crustacean has been christened the “star-gazer mysid” as its eyes seem to gaze permanently upwards.

Similar to insects’ eyes, they each look in a different direction.

“The vivid ringed patterns are thought to be there to make the eyes appear to belong to a much bigger creature, and hence to scare off predators,” the university said.

It is officially named Mysidopsis zsilaveczi after Mr Guido Zsilavecz, the underwater photographer who discovered it.

The university’s senior marine biologist, Professor Charles Griffiths, could not identify the species when Mr Zsilavecz brought it to him and so samples were sent to an expert in Vienna.

Mr Zsilavecz also recently found a new type of nudibranch, a soft-bodied sea slug, around Cape Town, a city situated at the meeting of the Indian and Atlantic oceans.

“It’s amazing that we’re still finding so many new species in heavily dived waters such as False Bay, right on our doorstep,” Prof Griffiths said. REUTERS