Wealth of new species found at the Great Barrier Reef

Date: 2/12/2008

Hundreds of new species of marine creatures, from shrimp-like crustaceans to soft-bodied corals were discovered by scientists exploring the rich assortment of life inhabiting the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Discoveries include: dozens of small crustaceans, a rare insect-like animal with a whip-like back and legs three times the length of its body and a jellyfish that floats upside down to dangle its tentacles in the sunlight. About 150 soft corals are thought to be new discoveries. Unlike their hard-bodied cousins, soft corals do not build reefs but are considered vital for the marine environment. The four-year project is centred on the extensive coral reefs of western and north-western Australia and is part of a larger effort to take a census of all marine life in the world, due to be finished in 2010.

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