A team of researchers has discovered a new specimen of a strange-looking crab species known as the Yeti crab. The crustacean is white and has big claws covered in a fur-like material. The scientists found it inside the hydrothermal vents in the waters of East Scotia Ridge, in Antarctica.
The findings were detailed in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.
According to the ones who discovered it, the scientific name of the Yeti crab is Kiwa tyler, a name inspired by Paul Tyler, a renowned British biologist specialized in deep-sea fauna.
The scientists used a remotely operated underwater vehicle to try and take photos of the crab back in 2010. Then they used genetic sequencing and computed tomography scanning to examine the marine creature and find more info about it.
Prior to this recent finding, biologists have discovered two different specimens of Yeti cabs. However, according to them, this is the first time they found one in the Southern Ocean off the coast of Antarctica. The experts wrote in their study that this species of crab lives in very large communities inside the hot water vents on the floor of the ocean.
Sven Thatje, one of the researchers who discovered the crustacean, explained that there aren’t many species of crabs or lobsters in the waters of the Antarctic or the Southern Ocean because of the very low temperatures. Thatje added that when they found the Yeti crab inside the hydrothermal vents, he knew he had discovered something unique.
According to the researchers’ findings, the reason why Yeti crabs live in such small places is that the water beyond the hydrothermal vents is very cold and they wouldn’t be able to survive such frigid environment. The water temperature on the floor of the Southern Ocean region is approximately 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, the researchers observed that the female Yeti crabs often leave the hydrothermal vents where they normally live and go out into the cold to brood the eggs. The females know that their offspring would not survive in the vents due to the sulfur emissions.
The marine biologists nicknamed the furry Yeti crab “the Hoff crab”, inspired by Baywatch actor David Hasselhoff who was famous for his chest hair.
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