A team of British researchers has recently discovered a rare species of crab known as the Yeti crab.
The scientists found the Yeti crab in East Scotia Ridge, Southern Ocean Antarctica, inside hydrothermal vent systems.
This species of crab, scientifically called Kiwa tyleri, was named as an homage to Professor Paul Tyler, a famous British biologist from the University of Southampton.
The Yeti crab belongs to a group of rather mysterious family of squat lobsters called Kiwaidae.
This species of crab lives in the hot waters that surround the hydrothermal vents which are geothermally heated.
The Yeti crab is the dominant species that lives in these environments at very high densities.
Researchers say there are more than 700 Yeti crabs per square meter.
This rare species of crab is known for its special body, which is covered in bristles and bacteria.
These bristles are known as setae and they cover the crabs’ bodies in what appears to be fur.
Because of its appearance, the Yeti crab can collect the bacterial mats, which are very dense and grow on the surface of vent chimneys.
This species of crab spends most of its live trapped in the warm waters of the vent chimney and cannot move between the vent sites because of the low temperatures that are in between – 0 degrees Celsius.
The female crab carries the eggs away from the vent chimneys and releases them into the cold waters, otherwise the eggs would not survive in the warm temperatures of the adults’ natural habitat.
According to the scientists, there are few species of crabs and lobsters living in the polar seas because they usually prefer living in the warm oceans.
The Yeti crab survives in the Southern Ocean only because of the hydrothermal vent systems.
Dr. Sven Thatje, a researcher at the University of Southampton and the study’s lead author, said that the Yeti crab is practically trapped in the warm waters heated by the hydrothermal vents because of the cold polar sea.
Dr. Thatje added that the rare species of crab learned to adapt to a very limited habitat.
The scientists detailed their findings in the journal PLOS ONE.
Image Source: voyageronline