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New species of freshwater crustacea found in the hottest place on Earth

A new species of freshwater Crustacea has been discovered during an expedition of the desert Lut, known as the hottest place on Earth.

The newly identified species belongs to the genus Phallocryptus of which only four species were previously known from different arid and semiarid regions.

Dr Hossein Rajaei from the Stuttgart State Museum of Natural History and Dr Alexander V Rudov from Tehran University made the discovery during an expedition of Lut to better understand the desert’s ecology, biodiversity, geomorphology and paleontology.

Further scientific examinations of the specimens by co-author Dr Martin Schwentner, Crustacea specialist from the Natural History Museum of Vienna, stated that they belong to a new species of freshwater Crustacea.

Publishing their findings in Zoology in the Middle East, the biologists name the new species Phallocryptus fahimii, in honor of the Iranian conservation biologist, Hadi Fahimi, who took part in the 2017 expedition and sadly died in an airplane crash in 2018.

Dr Rajaei, an entomologist from State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart, who actually found the species in a small seasonal lake in southern part of the desert says the discovery is “sensational.”

“During an expedition to such an extreme place you are always on alert, in particular when finding water. Discovering crustaceans in this otherwise hot and dry environment was really sensational.”

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The team’s study explains how Phallocryptus fahimii differs in its overall morphology and its genetics from all other known…

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