Texas A&M Scientists Found A New, Squirmy Species Of Crustacean

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelMay 19, 2017 11:34 am

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Researchers from Texas A&M University at Galveston recently discovered a brand new species of crustacean.

Now, crustaceans run the gamut – from shrimp to lobsters and crabs. But this new one doesn’t look quite as appetizing.

“It’s a type of crustacean that looks a lot like a centipede, but it’s actually more closely related to crabs and lobsters,” says John Wayne Ferguson with the Galveston County Daily News.

He caught up with the researchers about how they made this discovery.

“This researcher, Tom Iliffe and his team go down and go cave diving in Mexico and other places in the Gulf of Mexico and they look for unfound animals in these caves,” Ferguson says. “So while these scuba divers were in the cave they went to the halocline, which is the area where the salt water meets the fresh water. And they look in almost these underwater puddles where that happens, and they found these inch-long crustaceans.”

Discovering a brand new species – even if it is a squirmy, pale, centipede-like cave dweller– seems like a big deal. But Ferguson said the researchers took it in stride.

“I was excited to interview the researcher but he said, ‘Well actually, I’ve found hundreds of species in his almost 40 years of research in Mexico,’ so he wasn’t about it as I thought he would be,” Ferguson says.

But Ferguson adds the researcher was excited to share another takeaway: that to make new discoveries, you’ve got to go to new places.

Yesterday, Texas House lawmakers approved a bill that would increasingly privatize the state’s foster care system.

The legislation would over time shift some of the state’s current responsibilities to private child welfare agencies, moving to what lawmakers are calling a “community-based model.”

The senate has already passed SB 11, and now Rep. James Frank, R- Wichita Falls, is shepherding it through the House.

“I believe a lot of the problem is because the coordination and recruitment of homes is done out of Austin,” Rep. Frank said. “I truly believe that we must leave the status quo behind and embrace a more community based model.”

Opponents, like Rep. Ina Minjarez, D-San Antonio, argue other states haven’t seen improved results with similar plans.

“There are currently three states that have privatized case management services: Kansas, Florida, and Nebraska,” Rep. Minjarez said. “And they have all had some issues or problems with this type of model.”

Despite infusions of funding from lawmakers over the last few legislative sessions, Texas still only spends about half the national average on its child welfare system.

Noah and Emma were the most popular baby names in Texas in 2016, according to Social Security data released Thursday.

This is the third year in a row these names have been at the top of the list. They were also the most popular male and female names nationwide for babies born last year.