Big Hairy Freshwater Slaters go for a Walk
The Australian Museum marine invertebrates collection contains two lots of freshwater slaters known as Peludo paraliotus (Isopoda: Phreatoicidea), a new species and genus collected in pretty unusual circumstances.
The slaters were spotted walking in the park at Cape le Grande, Western Australia by Park Ranger Peter Masters and a local resident, Tony Ross. Slaters from this species are big for isopods - growing up to 4 cm in length - and are completely covered in thick cuticular fuzz, which makes them look hairy! These supposedly aquatic creatures were migrating on land when they were spotted, walking through Cape le Grand National Park in groups numbering in the hundreds.
Mr Ross also reported that the hairy slaters loved to eat pumpkin - not something commonly found in the diet of a marine invertebrate!
Dr George D. F. (Buz) Wilson , Senior Fellow
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