Image Gallery: Tiny Crustaceans Found in Fossil Reef

Fossil Reef

southern wall of the Koskobilo quarry in northern Spain

(Image credit: Adiël Klompmaker)

The limestones on southern wall of the Koskobilo quarry in northern Spain yielded 36 decapod crustacean species, eight of which are brand-new to science, including two of the world's oldest spider crabs known to date.

Teensy Crab

tiny fossil crab

(Image credit: Cretaceous Research )

A new species of tiny fossil crab, Graptocarcinus texanus discovered in limestones of the Koskobilo quarry in northern Spain.

Digging into the Past

Adiel Klompmaker at quarry in northern Spain

(Image credit: Adiel Klompmaker)

Lead researcher Adiel Klompmaker at the Koskobilo quarry in northern Spain.

Michael Jackson Crab

ancient hermit crab named after michael jackson

(Image credit: Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie)

Klompmaker was also part of a team that discovered a new hermit crab (carapace shown here) at the same quarry, naming it after Michael Jackson (Mesoparapylocheles michaeljacksoni), as it was found around the time the singer died.

Spider Crab

fossil spider crab

(Image credit: Cretaceous Research)

Here, a fossil of one of the new species of spider crab, named Cretamaja granulata, found at the quarry and dating back 100 million years.

Pear Shaped

fossil of spider crab

(Image credit: Cretaceous Research)

Scientists could tell C. granulata was a spider crab by some of its distinctive features, including two diverging spines coming out of its rostrum and a somewhat pear-shaped carapace, or the shell covering its body. The fossil spider crab also sported spines on its sides at the front of the body.

Newfound Crab

fossil of crab

(Image credit: Cretaceous Research)

The carapace of the newfound crab Laeviprosopon crassumI. The legs and tail part were not preserved. (Scale bar is 1.0 mm)

Fossil Crab

a fossil crab

(Image credit: Cretaceous Research)

Another newfound crab, called Albenizus minutus, from the quarry in northern Spain. The crab was teensy, with a length of just 3.2 millimeters, not including its rostrum (the extension of the shell in front of the eyes).

Jeanna Bryner
Live Science Editor-in-Chief

Jeanna served as editor-in-chief of Live Science. Previously, she was an assistant editor at Scholastic's Science World magazine. Jeanna has an English degree from Salisbury University, a master's degree in biogeochemistry and environmental sciences from the University of Maryland, and a graduate science journalism degree from New York University. She has worked as a biologist in Florida, where she monitored wetlands and did field surveys for endangered species. She also received an ocean sciences journalism fellowship from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.