As many of you picked up on last week, I've been busy working on starfish at Museum Victoria in Melbourne working with my colleague Dr. Tim O'Hara, one of the world's leading authorities on ophiuroids! aka the brittle stars and basket stars!
He's had a BUNCH of big research news drop lately (here's the link to last week)
While talking to Dr. O'Hara he informed me of of some neat, NEW SPECIES he's described from the deep-sea habitats of the South Pacific New Caledonia in late 2015! These were just too neat to pass up a post on!
I've reported in earlier posts (here) about working with Dr. O'Hara on echinoderms in the Paris collections!
All of these species were published in the Memoirs of the Museum Victoria, vol. 73: 47-57 published in 2015. Co-authored by Caroline Harding, also at Museum Victoria! This article is OPEN access and can be downloaded HERE.
1. The Impeller Brittle Star
As Dr. O'Hara tells the story, he was once called upon to aid a ship's engineer during his attempted crossing of the Bass Strait on the yacht Irene. A similar looking impeller failed the yacht's engine thus indelibly impressing its shape onto his mind's eye!
Fast forward many years.. and Dr. O'Hara is describing this new amphiurid brittle star from the deeps of New Caledonia.
The large shields on the disk trigger a memory that reminds him of the impeller's shape! and voila!
Enter: Ophiodaphne impellera
2. The Game of Thrones Brittle Star: Ophiohamus georgemartini!!
Probably the most STRIKINGLY amazing brittle star Dr. O'Hara described was this one, a new species in the genus Ophiohamus (family Ophiacanthidae), collected from a depth of 275 meters off New Caledonia!
Here's a nice shot of it holding onto this sponge stalk... Note that its most striking feature? Those big crazy spines that are coming off the disk!