Scientists from the National Oceanography Centre and the University of Southampton have discovered a new species of shrimp, in an undersea hot spring vent at the Cayman Islands.
The research team discovered a three centimeters long shrimp; the creature has no eyes but does have a light-sensing organ on its back, designed to help it find its way around the vent.
The animal has been named Rimicaris hybisae. The shrimp is related to a species called Rimicaris exoculata, which is also found in deep sea vents and, like its Cayman Islands cousin, has no eyes.
According to scientists, the vent in which the shrimp was found discharges thick black smoke, recorded touching 450 degrees Celsius, is rich in minerals like copper.
"Studying the creatures at these vents, and comparing them with species at other vents around the world; will help us to understand how animals disperse and evolve in the deep ocean," says Dr. Jon Copley, a marine biologist at the University of Southampton.
"Finding black smoker vents on Mount Dent was a complete surprise," adds Dr. Doug Connelly, a marine geochemist at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton. "Hot and acidic vents have never been seen in an area like this before, and usually we don't even look for vents in places like this," he added.