Fuzzy crab, shiny-eyed shrimp discovered on Java expedition

A photo from the South Java Deep Sea Biodiversity Expedition 2018 shows a yet-to-be-named spider crab species found in the waters of southwestern Java. (South Java Deep Sea Biodiversity Expedition 2018/AFP)
Updated 19 April 2018
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Fuzzy crab, shiny-eyed shrimp discovered on Java expedition

SINGAPORE: A hermit crab, a shiny-eyed shrimp and a crab with fuzzy spines are among over a dozen new species discovered in a deep-sea expedition off the Indonesian island of Java, scientists said.
The team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) carried out the expedition for 14 days between March and early April.
The area covered included a long stretch of the Indian Ocean off Java’s southern coast as well as the Sunda Strait that separates the island from Sumatra.
“This is a part of the Indian Ocean that has been never been sampled for deep-sea animals so we really didn’t know what to find,” said Peter Ng, a crab expert and head of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at NUS.
“We were very surprised by the findings,” he said on Thursday, adding that the team had expected to discover creatures from the Indian Ocean and the surrounding areas already known to scientists.
But the discovery of species entirely new to science “tells us that there are things happening in that part of Indonesia that we don’t know,” said Ng, who co-led the expedition.
The researchers examined 63 sites as they sailed from Jakarta to Cilacap town in southern Java and back.
Three new species of spider crabs were discovered during the expedition, the scientists said in a statement.
One of them had a plate protecting its eyes which resembled oversized ears while another was bright orange in color.
Another discovery was a new species of hermit crab with bright green eyes, according to Indonesian scientist Dwi Listyo Rahayu, also a crab expert and the expedition’s co-leader.
One new species of shrimp had shiny eyes that reflect light, the scientists said.
Ng, the NUS professor, said the scientists will carry out a detailed study of the more than 12,000 creatures from 800 species they had picked up on the expedition and publish their findings in 2020.
They expect to discover more new species as they go along, he said.
The reason they immediately identified the new species of crabs, prawns and lobsters is that the scientists involved are experts in this field, he added.


Hot air balloons take flight over Austria for world championship

Updated 20 August 2018
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Hot air balloons take flight over Austria for world championship

  • Around 100 teams from more than 38 countries are taking part in the biennial event
  • Competitive ballooning test pilots’ skills in distance, speed and navigational precision

GROSS-SIEGHARTS, Austria: The northern Austrian sky was filled with colorful hot air balloons early on Monday morning as the sport’s world championship sailed into view.
Around 100 teams from more than 38 countries are taking part in the biennial event, which is being held in Gross-Siegharts near the Czech border.
Competitive ballooning test pilots’ skills in distance, speed and navigational precision, according to the World Air Sports Federation that oversees the sport.
Each flight is scheduled for 5am (0300 GMT) and 5pm when light winds usually allow for safer take off and landings. The event runs until Friday.