Friday, 17 December 2010

The Yeti Crab

Image of the yeti crab
Yeti Crab
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Family: Kiwaidaea
Genus: Kiwa
Species: Kiwa hirsuta
Conservation Status: Not assessed
Common Name(s): Yeti Crab, Yeti lobster, Furry lobster

The yeti lobster is a crustacean discovered in 2005, in the South Pacific Ocean. new strange species of crab that is seemingly covered with what looks to be like silky fur.

Discovery 
The yeti lobster was discovered in March 2005, by a team of marine biologists. The group behind the discovery, was comprised by:
  • Robert Vrijenhoek of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Monterey, California 
  • Michel Segonzac of the Ifremer (Institut fran├žais de recherche pour l'exploitation de la mer)
  • Scientists from the Census of Marine Life
The discovery was made using the DSV Alvin submarine, operated from RV Atlantis.The yeti lobster was found along the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge, 1,500 km (900 miles) south of Easter Island at a depth of 2,200 m, living on hydrothermal vents.

Later the same year, the researchers concluded that the yeti lobster belonged to a family  that wasn't described before, thus the Kiwaidae family was formed. The Kiwaidae family is named after Kiwa, the Polynesian goddess of shellfish. Hirsuta means "hairy" in Latin.

The scientists announced their discovery on March 2006. 

Picture of the DSV Alvin submarine
Description 
The yeti lobster has an average length of 15 cm (~5.9 in.). It has pincers that are covered with sinuous, hair-like strands, reminiscent of fur. The species resides in deep sea hydrothermal vents of the Pacific, which spew out fluids that are toxic and deadly to most known lifeforms.

The species has small eyes that lack pigment, and is believed to be blind. Filamentous bacteria are contained in the "hairy" pincers, which are assumed to be used by K. hirsuta for detoxifying the poisonous minerals contained in the water emitted by the hydrothermal vents occuring in its natural habitat. Some researchers say that the yeti lobster may also feed on them!

The following video is the only one I managed to find featuring the yeti lobster. Unfortunately the quality is very bad:

Yeti Crab Video


Diet
Similarly to other vent decapod crustaceans, Kiwa hirsuta is presumed to be omnivorous. Specimens have been observed in situ to consume tissues of mussels damaged by submersible sampling activities.


Unfortunately, the information above pretty much sums up all we know about this weird animal. I will try to update the post if anything new comes up.

References
- E. Macpherson, W. Jones & M. Segonzac (2006). A new squat lobster family of Galatheoidea (Crustacea, Decapoda, Anomura) from the hydrothermal vents of the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge Zoosystema

4 comments:

  1. PLZ TELL ME HOW MUCH A YETI CRAB WEIGHS?!?!

    ReplyDelete
  2. FURRY CRAB!!! ME LIKEY!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. PLZ TELL ME HOW MUCH ITS LIFE SPAN, WHAT IT EATS, REPRODUCTION AND BREEDING.

    ReplyDelete