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The ocean and its mysteries continue to captivate the world of science. After years of intense research and research, Mexican scientists discovered a new marine cave species in the El Aerolito cave, located on the island of Cozumel, located in Aztec territory.
Ofiuro is the name of this animal group belonging to the echinoderm family, in which hedgehogs, stars, lilies and sea cucumbers are also located; as explained by the researchers of the Institute of Marine Sciences and Limnology (ICML).
According to researchers, the ofiuros are a marine species with some resemblance to a starfish. Its small and flattened body is formed by a round disk and five thin arms, measuring between 18 and 20 centimeters that look like snakes.
Although it seems a further discovery, the role of these animals in the oceans is substantial, as they participate in the production of oxygen in the seabed, model the texture of the ocean floor, reflect the quality of the water and are part of the diet of other organisms.
Why is this animal family important?
Francisco Alonso Solís Marín, head of the National Collection of Echinoderms “Dr. María Elena Caso Muñoz”, of the ICML, and one of the authors of the finding, said: “Echinoderms are important for being a food source, such as sea cucumbers and hedgehogs, while in the pharmaceutical industry they are under study for having active principles capable of inhibiting the growth of cancer cells. “
According to the scientific community, Mexico has more than 800 species of echinoderms , which represent approximately 11 percent of the variety on the planet.
Of the more than 2,000 species of documented ophthalideas since 2010, only two live in caves, in the United States and in Japan, to which Mexico now joins, which university students have called “Ophionereis commutabilis,” they said from the ICML.
— UNAM (@UNAM_MX) February 2, 2020
Source: Mega Noticias