A new species of freshwater crayfish with a vividly violet shell and brilliantly blue claws has been discovered in Indonesia. Though new to science, the colorful crustacean has been very popular in the ornamental fish trade in Europe, North America, and Asia for about a decade already.
Several years ago, independent researcher Christian Lukhaup of Hinterweidenthal, Germany, came across a photo of the gorgeous crayfish taken by a friend in New Guinea, The Washington Post reports. He then started seeing them in pet stores, but the dealers didn’t know for sure where they came from—or they weren’t willing to share their secret with potential competitors. "It is like an investigation in a crime case," Lukhaup tells New Scientist. "This is the only way to find out more."
With some sleuthing, he learned that the critter comes from the clear waters of Hoa Creek near the village Teminabuan in the southern-central part of the Kepala Burung Peninsula of West Papua, Indonesia. Based on the shape of the body and the chelae (or claws), as well as the coloration of a dozen specimens from the wild and from aquariums, Lukhaup described the crawdad as a new species in the genus Cherax.