Hidden in plain sight: two new species of decapod crustaceans (Palaemonidae and Porcellanidae) discovered in the Red Sea on a university campus in Saudi Arabia

Arthur Anker, Francesca Benzoni

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2 Scopus citations


Two new symbiotic species of decapod crustaceans, a palaemonid shrimp and a porcellanid crab, are described from the same type locality situated on the campus of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Thuwal, on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia. The palaemonid shrimp Palaemonella jamila sp. nov. is described based on one male and one female, whereas the porcellanid crab Enosteoides habibi sp. nov. is described based on three males and two females. Unfortunately, the originally collected and studied specimens were lost shortly after study. However, subsequent recollection of one specimen of P. jamila sp. nov. and one specimen of E. habibi sp. nov. enabled to deposit a holotype of each new species in the collections of the Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville, USA. Both species inhabit burrows of goby-associated snapping shrimps, Alpheus spp., in the shallow subtidal areas, at depths less than 1 m. In addition, a single female specimen of Palaemonella aliska Marin, 2008 collected at Al Fahal reef off KAUST represents the first record of the species in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, and a considerable range extension of its previously known distribution range. This species may be a close relative of P. jamila sp. nov., to which it is also ecologically similar. The present study highlights the necessity of prospecting the largely neglected and still undersampled shallow subtidal habitats of the Red Sea, and the Indo-West Pacific in general.  
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-102
Number of pages25
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 4 2023

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-05-05
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): FCC/1/1973-49- 01
Acknowledgements: AA would like to thank Viktor Nunes Peinemann, PhD candidate under supervision of Prof. Michael Berumen (Red Sea Research Center, KAUST), for inviting him to participate in a fieldtrip to the King Abdullah Monument on KAUST campus in September 2022. Dr. Sammy De Grave (Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Oxford, United Kingdom) generously enabled AA to use his laboratory’s stereomicroscope equipped with a camera lucida to prepare line drawings for this study. Dr. Masayuki Osawa (Shimane University, Shimane, Japan) confirmed the identification of the porcelain crab as an undescribed species. Dr. Aymere A. Assayie (KAUST) provided invaluable help in organising and assisting in additional collecting trips to the type locality in December 2022 and January 2023. Comparative material from New Caledonia was collected during the Our Planet Reviewed Koumac 2.1 expedition, organised by MNHN (PI: Philippe Bouchet). This study was supported by KAUST (FCC/1/1973-49- 01) and baseline research fund to F. Benzoni. Charles H J M Fransen, Zdenek Duris and an anonymous reviewer thoroughly read the originally submitted manuscript and made several corrections and improvements.


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