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Science Briefing

New reef species found in Australia

September 20, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Marine scientists have discovered hundreds of new animal species on reefs in Australian waters, including brilliant soft corals and tiny crustaceans, according to findings released Thursday.

The creatures were found during expeditions run by the Australian chapter of CReefs, a global census of coral reefs that is one of several projects of the Census of Marine Life, an international effort to catalog all life in the oceans.

Among the creatures researchers found were about 130 soft corals -- also known as octocorals, for the eight tentacles that fringe each polyp -- that have never been described in scientific literature, and scores of similarly undocumented crustaceans, including tiny shrimplike animals with claws longer than their bodies.

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