New Animal Species Discovered For The First Time Underneath The Indian Ocean

First Posted: Dec 16, 2016 03:40 AM EST

Six new species of marine animals were discovered near the hydrothermal vents underneath the Indian Ocean. These species include "Hoff" crab, a whelk-like snail, a giant peltospirid snail, a limpet, a polychaete worm and a scale worm.

Dr. Copley, the head of the research team at the University of Southampton, said that they can be certain that the new species they have found also live elsewhere in the southwest of the Indian Ocean, as they would have migrated here from other sites. On the other hand, now no one really knows where or how well-connected their populations are with those in Longgi.

He added that the results of the discovery highlight the need to explore other hydrothermal vents in the southwest Indian Ocean. There is also a need to investigate the connectivity of their populations, before any impacts from mineral exploration activities and future deep-sea mining can be assessed.

According to BBC, hydrothermal vents form at locations where seawater meets magma and surrounded by numerous organisms that yet to be discovered in science. These vents sit 1,243 miles southeast of Madagascar and are also referred to as the Lonqui vents or "Dragon Breath."

The vents were first found in 1977, and since then, there were over 400 new animal species that have been identified across the world's oceans. Dr. Copley said that hydrothermal vents form a network of marine life in the deep, and so far, they have only glimpsed one node of the network in the southwest Indian Ocean.

The new species have been seen by humans and researchers for the first time and only live in the Longgi vents. The team used a remote-operated underwater robot to look at these new species.

Meanwhile, the Indian Ocean is named after India and the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions. This ocean is bounded on the west by Africa, on the north by Asia, on the south by the Southern Ocean and on the east by Australia. In Hindi, the Indian Ocean is referred to as Hind Mahasagar, meaning "the great Indian sea."

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