Tiny creature covered in spots found crawling on seafloor in Japan. It’s a new species

While scouring the seafloor almost 300 feet below the surface, Japanese researchers saw something red crawling between the dark rocks.

It had long, spindly antennae and a translucent body, the researchers saw. It was also covered in tiny red spots.

The researchers captured the critter, a tiny shrimp, and brought it back to the lab for a closer look, according to a study published April 24 in the journal Zootaxa.

The shrimp was plucked from the Sea of Japan and bore a resemblance to a shrimp first discovered in 2007, the study said, but something was a little different.

The previously known species, A. sydnyensis, called the waters of Australia home, according to the study, and had a specific shape for its telson, or tail segment, of its body. It also had longer antennae than the shrimp covered in red spots.

The researchers decided to use genetics to take an inside look at the shrimp.

They extracted DNA from muscle tissue in the shrimp and tested for a specific gene, 16S rRNA, according to the study.

The DNA showed high “genetic divergence,” meaning the shrimp collected from the bottom of the sea was likely part of the same genus as A. sydnyensis but not a match.

The red-spotted shrimp was a new species.

Researchers said they collected the new species from the bottom of the sea at about 53 degrees Fahrenheit, “suggesting that the new species is adapted to the temperate environment.”

The new species joins 13 others already identified as living in the waters around Japan, according to the study.

The researchers named the shrimp A. exilis, from the Latin word exilis, meaning slender, according to the study.

The Sea of Japan is the body of water between the island nation and mainland Asia.

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