May
20
2008

Lay out a tarp: new crustacean will blow mind

Wouldn't this be wild?: But the actual crustacean is about as big as a period.
Wouldn't this be wild?: But the actual crustacean is about as big as a period.Courtesy mattechi
Seriously, get yourself on some impermeable surfaces, pronto. Despite the fact that the scientists involved declared it “mind-blowing,” I read this story without taking the proper precautions, and now my mind has been blown all over my cubicle walls. What was I supposed to do, though? People are always telling me that my mind is about to be blown, regardless of the plain fact that my mind hasn’t been blown since I saw the Matrix (Like that scene with the little bald kid: “I have no spoon” no, wait, “You are the spoon.” Sweet.)

But my mind. Was. Blown.

What did it feel like? It was kind of like eating dynamite. Or Rice Krispies and Pepsi.

Okay, so what we’re dealing with here is a weird little crustacean. Crustaceans (shrimp, crabs, lobster, barnacles), much like mollusks, are not to be trusted, and this one is particularly sneaky. Called “y-larvae,” these little guys were discovered swimming around about 100 years ago. They look kind of like a cross between a flea and a little brine shrimp, and they’re found in coral reefs all over the world, from the poles to the tropics. What’s strange about them is that scientists could never figure out y-larvae become as adults—you’ve got these very common, ordinary looking crustaceans, and nobody knows what happens to them when they’re done being larvae.

Recently an international team of scientists decided to get to the bottom of the y-larvae mystery. Gathering up a large sample of the creatures, the team brought them back to a lab to mature. They exposed the shrimpy little larvae to a crustacean growth hormone, and sat back to appreciate the results.

What they saw, as you now know, exploded their huge scientist minds all over the laboratory.

The y-larvae metamorphosized into their juvenile form, which happened to be wriggling, limbless, eyeless creatures, with no digestive tracks or nervous systems. Far less complex than their exoskeletoned larval forms, the little gooballs are thought to be parasites.

BLAM!

Did it happen to anyone? Don’t say I didn’t warn you, because I did. A couple times.

"The juvenile literally crawled out of the old larval carapace," recalls Danish molecular biologist, Dr. Cleverboots. "It was only after several repeated experiments we actually believed what we saw. That feeling was a mind-blowing experience."

How do you like that? Legs, shell, and eyes, transformed into a “simple, pulsing, slug-like mass of cells.” And a parasite to boot.

The scientists point out, however, that as gross as the adult y-larvae (now referred to as “ypsigons”) are, they very likely play an important role in ocean ecosystems. Being so prevalent, ypsigons probably have a part in observed, “normal” functions of coral reefs.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

andyshadexx's picture
andyshadexx says:

oh wow i know that like when human die, there body will break down and have some kinda of little bugs on them. So i wouldn't doubt about the crustacean or crab.

posted on Thu, 05/22/2008 - 10:05am
MrBig621188's picture
MrBig621188 says:

well the picture was misleading cause i totally thought they found a large shrimp or something but and awesome discovery

posted on Thu, 05/22/2008 - 10:21am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Yeah, I do my best to mislead. You wouldn't want to learn too much.

posted on Thu, 05/22/2008 - 12:09pm
koallainfestation37's picture
koallainfestation37 says:

the mind has been blown. that as a larva its more complex than as an adult

posted on Tue, 05/27/2008 - 10:06am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

It makes me feel all warm inside to know that at least one more mind has been blown.
If only people were more like y-larvae. I could have had an easy baby life, and right now I could be living it up as a parasitic pile of goo. Sure, typing would be harder, but I think my priorities would be different then too.

posted on Tue, 05/27/2008 - 2:20pm

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