A minuscule, bright blue six-eyed creature wriggled through the decay atop a fallen tree branch — and fell into a funnel trap set up by researchers in Japan.
Scientists were exploring an evergreen forest on Tsushima Island, searching for collembola, also known as springtails, which are tiny, wingless insects, that move by crawling or jumping, according to Britannica.
That’s where they discovered the small animal, which turned out to be a new species: Paranura tsushimaensis, according to a study published Sept. 4 in Zootaxa.
Researchers said Paranura are found throughout Asia and the Americas, but only three species were previously reported from Japan. Recent findings have determined a “strong relationship” between the genus and dead wood, inspiring searches for species that have not yet been identified.
P. tsushimaensis is a flat and long critter named after its home on Tsushima Island in the Nagasaki province, researchers said. Scientists collected two females, three males and one juvenile while exploring the forest where the creature lives.
The approximately 0.06 inch to 0.07 inch long animal has a bright blue body and six black eyes on its head, according to the study.
Along with the P. tsushimaensis, scientists identified three more new species of Paranura throughout Japan: P. nakamurai, P. alpicola and P. convallis. Each species was collected from rotten fallen branches in the Nagasaki, Nara and Niigata provinces of Japan, scientists said.
P. nakamurai was found in a forest on Sado Island in the Niigata province, where six female specimens were collected, according to researchers. The yellow-white four-eyed creature was named after Kahito Nakamura, who collected the species.
The species ranges in size from about 0.03 inches to 0.06 inches, the study said.
P. alpicola, which was named after its alpine habitat, was discovered in a forest on Mount Syakagatake in the Nara province. Scientists said they collected five female specimens and one male specimen.
The six-eyed yellow creature has a thick and plump body that measures between 0.05 inches and 0.08 inches, researchers said.
P. convallis was also discovered in the Nara province and was named for its mountain valley habitat, the study said. The orange, thick and plump creature has six eyes and measures between 0.06 inches and 0.09 inches. Researchers collected three females and two juveniles during their searches.