An illustration of Yeti Crabs
The first captured Yeti Crab
|Habitat||Ocean trenches and mounds|
The Yeti Crab is a crustacean discovered in 2005 in the South Pacific Ocean. This decapod, which is approximately 15 cm (5.9 in) long, is notable for the quantity of silky blond setae (resembling fur) covering its pereiopods (thoracic legs, including claws). Its discoverers dubbed it the "yeti crab" or "yeti lobster" after the famous cryptid, the Yeti.
Note, the first species of Yeti Crab, Kiwa hirsuta, is NOT considered a cryptid, as such a creatures were not envisioned, sighted, or reported yet. However, the two species of Yeti Crab that were discovered post would be classified as former cryptids, since these creatures were first recorded and debated before their actual discoveries and scientific classifications.
New Species and Former Cryptids
After the discovery of the Yeti Crab (Kiwa hirsute), scientist at the University of Southampton began to wonder if there were other species in the newly discover genus Kiwa. However, many ecologist, including some of the discovers of the first Yeti Crab, doubted other species existed, and believed that Kiwa was just a single species genus. After expeditions to many underwater trenches across the world (From Antarctica to Costa Rica), two new species of the crab have been discovered, thus adding to the former cryptid list.
Puravida Yeti Crab
- Main article: Puravida Yeti Crab
During June 2006, scientist discovered a second species of Yeti crab, which they formally dubbed Kiwa puravida. They first observed it swinging its bacteria-laden chelipeds rhythmically at a Costa Rican methane seep.
The specimens were collected with DSRV Alvin on RV Atlantis Cruises AT 15-5, AT 15-44, 15-59 June 16, 2006, February 22– March 23, 2009, and January 1–12, 2010, respectively, at Mound 12 off Costa Rica (8o 55.8′N 84o18.8′W) at depths of 1000–1040 m. One specimen was collected at Mound 11 (8o 55.2′N 84o18.2′W), although few individuals were observed there.
Tyleri Yeti Crab
- Main article: Tyleri Yeti Crab
Analysis of the Antarctic crabs revealed that they were genetically distinct species, according to the new study.
Waters near East Scotia Ridge are generally just above freezing. However, the liquid spewing out of the vents themselves is super-hot, and can exceed 700 degrees Fahrenheit (about 400 degrees Celsius).
Because the water cools rapidly away from the vents, K. tyleri has only a tiny, Goldilocks-like space in which it can survive. Too close to the vent and they fry. Too far away and they freeze.
The crabs have hair-like structures on their chest and arms, called setae, that attracts bacteria, their main diet.
These hairy chests have inspired its nickname of "Hoff crab," in homage to David Hasselhoff of Baywatch fame.