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article image'Yeti' crab discovered in deep waters

By Caroline Leopold     Jun 26, 2015 in Technology
A new species of crab has been discovered residing near hydrothermic vents on the sea floor near Antarctica. This hardy species, nicknamed the yeti crab, has an unusual furry appearance.
A new species of crab has been discovered residing near hydrothermic vents on the sea floor near Antarctica. This hardy species has been nicknamed the yeti crab because its unusual furry appearance.
British researchers had sent a robot submarine to explore hydrothermic vent on the East Scotia ridge. These vents, which spew superheated water, are harsh environments for any living creature. Yet a type of crab has found refuge from the near freezing waters of the South Ocean.
The results of the years long exploration, which include the discovery of the new species of crab, has been described in a journal article in PLOS One.
Researchers noted that the crabs were densely crowded along hydrothermic vents, and observed that they have a narrow space of a livable habitat. If the crabs come to close to the vents, they are burned to death, but if they venture too far, they will freeze.
The vents, called "black smokers," spew dark-colored chemicals up into the water.
The furry appearance is the method that these crabs will feed. These hairs, formally called setae, capture bacteria for food.
The new species of crab was discovered in the past decade. Explorations of hydrothermic vents off Easter Island uncovered these creatures.
More mysteries remain to be resolved, such as how the isolated species arrived at its current home, as compared to its relatives in warmer waters.
More about yeti crab, Southern Ocean, kiwi tyleri, hydrothermic vent
 
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