BEIJING -- Chinese researchers have discovered a new species of marine insect from the Hermatobatidae family in the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea, marking the first time the insect was recorded in China.
Researchers from Sun Yat-Sen University said the insect, with a body length of 3 to 4 mm, lives on the surface of the ocean and sometimes hides in the tiny holes of coral stone, and eats small arthropods.
Compared with previously known Hermatobatidae species, the researchers found significant differences and identified it as a whole new species, increasing the number of Hermatobatidae family members from 12 to 13.
The newly found species was named "H. lingyangjiaoensis Luo, Chen & Wang, 2019" as specimens were only found on the Antelope Reef (lingyangjiao in Chinese pinyin) in the Xisha Islands.
The study has been published in the journal Zootaxa, an international journal on animal taxonomic research.
The researchers said it is the first time that Chinese scientists have named a new species of animals after a single island reef in the South China Sea.
Marine insects have special adaptation mechanisms for the marine environment. The study is expected to push forward Chinese scientists' future studies on marine biology and evolutionary biology, they said.