New Pea Crab Species Named After Two-Faced Roman God Janus

Posted on October 24, 2016

Serenotheres janus

Scientists have discovered a new pea crab species. The tiny crab was found parasitizing a date mussel located off the Solomon Islands. The crab was discovered by Dr Peter Ng, National University of Singapore, and Dr Christopher Meyer, U.S. National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

The crab lives off the food filtered by its bivalve host. It has a characteristic large additional plate that covers its carapace and gives it the illusion of having two faces. This led the researchers to name the crab Serenotheres janus after Janus, the two-faced Roman god. The tiny crab is only the second species in its genus.

The crab is cream-yellow in color. The other crab in the genus is also a parasite of rock-boring bivalves. A research paper on the crab was published in the journal ZooKeys. The image below shows the crab inside a date mussel shell.

Serenotheres janus pea crab parasitizing a date mussel

Photos: Peter K. L. Ng

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