New species of deep-sea isopod discovered off Kollam named after ISRO

The fish-parasitic crustacean, belonging to the genus Brucethoa, was recovered from the base of the gill cavity of Spinyjaw greeneye, a marine fish

March 20, 2024 08:59 pm | Updated March 21, 2024 02:35 am IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Brucethoa isro

Brucethoa isro

Researchers have named a new species of deep-sea isopod discovered off the Kollam coast after the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

The tiny fish-parasitic crustacean, belonging to the genus Brucethoa, was recovered from the base of the gill cavity of the Spinyjaw greeneye, a marine fish.

The new species has been named Brucethoa isro in honour of the Indian space agency’s “successful space missions, including the recent successful lunar mission titled Chandrayaan-3,” a paper on the finding published in the journal Systematic Parasitology.

Team members

The new species was identified by P. T. Aneesh, Assistant Professor at the Seto Inland Sea Carbon Neutral Research Centre, Hiroshima University; A.K. Helna of the Regional Forensics Science Laboratory, Kannur; and A. Biju Kumar, Department Head, Aquatic Biology and Fisheries, University of Kerala. This same team had in 2020 described Brucethoa as a new genus from India.

“Residing within the gill cavity of the Spinyjaw greeneye (Chlorophthalmus corniger), a fish species inhabiting depths of 250-450 metres off the Kerala coast, Brucethoa isro represents a fascinating addition to the scientific community’s understanding of marine parasitism,” the Department of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries said.

Second species

Females of the species tend to be larger than the males. Females grow to about 19 mm in length and 6 mm in width, while males are smaller at around half the size. The distinctive morphology and behaviour of deep-sea parasitic isopods have long intrigued taxonomists. Brucethoa isro is the second species within this genus to be documented in India, the department said.

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