New Species Found Living in the Mouth of a Whale Shark

Japanese researches have just discovered a new species living in the mouth of a whale shark.

Have you ever thought about what kind of creatures live in your mouth? Yeah, in your mouth! It seems like we now can have some species live inside our mouths. Or maybe not ours, yet, but Japanese scientists have discovered a new species in the mouth of a whale shark.

The new species called podocerus jinbe are a variety of gammaridea, which can live in environments such as high mountains and the deep sea.

Lead researcher Ko Tomikawa said he was surprised to find these living in an animal's mouth. He said "This creature, which is usually 3-5 centimeters long, is amazing because they can live in so many different kinds of environment. But I didn't expect we would find one inside the mouth of a whale shark," to AFP.

whale-shark
Source: indianoceanimagery/iStock

Since whale sharks are called jinbe zame in Japanese, the name of the new creature was inspired by this name. 

Yeah, it seems interesting to find a creature inside of an animal but according to Tomikawa there were some good reasons why the species chose this environment to live. 

He added, "The mouth of the whale shark is probably a good habitat because fresh seawater, which is necessary for them to breath comes in regularly, and food flows in too. And it also provides a safe place without any predators."

podocerus-jinbe
Podocerus Jinbe, Source: Tomikawa, Yanagisawa, Higashiji, Yano, Vader/Hiroshima University

Tomikawa also said that about a thousand of the creatures were found inside the gills of the shark's mouth.

So it seems like science and nature never stop surprising us. Who would have guessed that some animals choose to live in the mouths of others? But when you think about it it's not that weird after head-lice and intestinal worms. How cute is that, our body is actually a shelter for little animals.  

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