Five New Deep-Sea Lobster Species Recently Discovered


Planned and executed around US government priorities to close knowledge gaps, the E/V Nautilus expeditions in 2022 discovered five new species of deep-sea squat lobster.

The photograph below, captured by Paula C. Rodríguez-Flores shows a new species of squat lobster, the Munidopsis nautilus, named in honor of OET Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus, which collected the only known sample of this species. According to scientists this sample was collected from 2,600 meters deep on an expedition to Ecuador’s Galapagos Rift, a trip that resulted in the description of over 30 new species to date.

The discovery of new squat lobster species has led scientists to admit that “the deep sea invertebrates known as squat lobsters might be up for a brand new classification, thanks to research on samples housed at various museums, including some recently gathered by Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) and other ocean exploration organizations. Researchers in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (OEB) at Harvard University have described five new species of squat lobsters from the Eastern Pacific.”

Already in 2015, while exploring off the California coast, the team of E/V Nautilus encountered several small squat lobsters feeding on free floating particles, detritus, and even each other. In 2022, E/V Nautilus successfully completed an 8-month field season consisting of 11 expeditions that explored the Central Pacific for a total of 202 days at sea.

Since the NOAA Ocean Exploration Program was authorized into US law by Congress in 2009, OET has been partnering closely with the NOAA Office of Exploration & Research as well as other government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector to advance the field of deep-sea exploration and to engage the public and next generation.