Tanaidaceans are a poorly known group of small (averaging 2–5 mm in length) peracarid crustaceans. Most of the 1000+ species live at depths exceeding 200 m, and, in some deepwater environments, Tanaidacea are the most diverse and abundant members of the fauna present. In shallow water, populations can reach high densities, often exceeding 10,000 individuals/m2. Despite evidence of their ecological importance, especially as prey items, tanaidaceans have been neglected in most ecological surveys, and, when included, are identified only at the ordinal level.
The ECOCOT project has been implemented in order to explore French Guiana intertidal mudflat ecosystem structure and functioning. As part of this project, the monitoring survey of benthic communities from intertidal mudflats led to the discovery of a new tanaidacean species, Monokalliapseudes guianae, described by one of EcoAnalyst’s marine taxonomists, David Drumm. Only one other species is known from this genus, distributed from southeastern Brazil to Uruguay, and has been shown to be an important component of estuaries in southern Brazil, where it can reach high population densities and is a major food item of fish, crustaceans, and birds. Since M. guianae also occupies similar habitats and is common and abundant, it is reasonable to suspect that it also plays a similarly important role.
The new species was named for the region where it was collected, Guiana, and has been published in the journal, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington:
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