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It's a fruit! It's a mushroom! It's a ... crab? New, strawberry-like species is found in Taiwan

January 5, 2010 |  6:19 pm

Strawberry crab

A marine biology professor at National Taiwan Ocean University says his scientific team has discovered a previously unknown -- and bizarre -- species of crab that looks alarmingly like an aquatic strawberry.  (For our money, it actually looks a bit more like Nintendo's Super Mushroom -- but hey, that's just us.)

The team, led by professor Ho Ping-ho, was conducting research at Taiwan's Kenting National Park in June to determine the environmental impact of an oil spill there when they happened upon two of the unusual crabs.  "Luckily the oil leak from the shipwreck was not serious, otherwise the two crabs might have been polluted and escaped our eyes," Ho told Agence France-Presse of the discovery.

The crabs, both female, were tiny -- the larger is only an inch long -- and, at the time of the discovery, one was already dead and the other was dying. The two deceased crabs have since been made into specimens, and Ho plans to study them further and write about them.

While the newly discovered crab species is similar to another species, Neoliomera pubescens, the width and clamlike shape of its shell make it a distinguishable separate species, according to TreeHugger.  A Taiwanese scientist who specializes in crabs, Wang Chia-hsiang, confirmed Ho's finding, the Associated Press reports. See another photo of this strange new species after the jump!

Strawberry crab

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-- Lindsay Barnett

Photos: Kenting National Park / AFP/Getty Images

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