By TOMOYUKI YAMAMOTO Staff Writer
This red-and-white shrimp was identified as a new species. (Yusuke Yamada)A new species of blue poppy (Toshio Yoshida)
A tiny red-and-white shrimp and two varieties of blue poppies that were found by Japanese researchers have been identified as new species.
The shrimp, about 1 centimeter long, were found in shallow waters off Okinawa's main island and in the Indian Ocean off Madagascar, nearly 10,000 kilometers away.
Tomoyuki Komai and other researchers at the Natural History Museum and Institute, Chiba, in Chiba, identified the creature as a member of the Alpheidae family.
Their research was reported in Zootaxa, an academic journal published in New Zealand.
"The shrimp appear to live over a wide area of the sea," said Komai. "Perhaps because they are so small, they had not been identified, despite their conspicuous red-and-white color, reminiscent of Santa Claus."
The blue poppies were found growing on a mountain in the southwestern part of China's Sichuan province by plant photographer Toshio Yoshida in August 2009.
Yoshida, 61, spotted the flowers blooming among rocks on a mountain more than 4,000 meters high. The Chinese call the family of blue poppies "phantom flowers."
They were identified as two new species--M. heterandra and M. pulchella--through joint research by Yoshida and scholars at Harvard University in the United States and at the Kunming Institute of Botany at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
More than 40 species of blue poppies are known around the world.