A new species of snapping shrimp has been described based on two specimens collected in the Maldives. Alpheus octocellatus appears to be morphologically most similar to Alpheus edwardsii, pareuchirus and leptochirus so the paper’s authors have placed it in the edwardsii group, but it can be distinguished from all of them by a combination of morphological characters, mainly involving the chelipeds, third maxilliped, and pleonal sternites.
The new species also has a highly diagnostic color pattern, with four pairs of conspicuous eyespots distributed in a unique and peculiar pattern on the pleon, which gives it its specific name. One male and one female were collected on shallow-water reef flats off the Southern Ari Atoll in the Maldives, with a photographic record from Cebu in the Philippines. It has been described by Arthur Anker and F. Benzoni, and published in the journal Zootaxa, doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.5271.3.7.
Arthur Anker also described another new pistol shrimp in April 2023, named Alpheus dingabadi, also from the Maldives, and this time assigned to the A.macrocheles group. The Alpheus macrocheles group is described based on a single adult male specimen collected on an exposed forereef near Magoodhoo Island, Faafu Atoll, in the Maldives. Alpheus dingabadi is one of several species of the A. macrocheles group characterized by the presence of a stout distoventral tooth on the merus of the third pereiopod but can be separated from all of them by several morphological features, including the unusually long appendix masculina on the second pleopod, as well as by its conspicuous and highly diagnostic color pattern.
With so many Pistol shrimp species in the hobby, sold both as partners for shrimp gobies and as stowaways in coral bases and liverock, we think it likely that one or both have been in the hobby previously, so keep your eyes peeled. It’s also yet more evidence of new species discoveries coming from this Indian Ocean hotspot. doi.org/10.11646/ZOOTAXA.5271.1.6