Nav: Home

First species of yeti crab found in Antarctica

June 24, 2015

The first species of Yeti Crab from hydrothermal vent systems of the East Scotia Ridge in the Southern Ocean, Antarctica, has been described in a study published June 24 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Sven Thatje from University of Southampton, and colleagues.

The species of Yeti crab Kiwa tyleri belongs to an enigmatic group of squat lobsters, known as Kiwaidae, that thrive in the hot waters surrounding the geothermally heated hydrothermal vents. It is the dominant species at these sites, occurring at extremely high densities exceeding 700 specimens per square meter.

This Yeti Crab is famous for its body, which is densely covered by bristles, known as setae, and bacteria, giving it a fur-like outer appearance. This appearance is advantageous as it allows the crab to harvest the dense bacterial mats that overgrow the surfaces of vent chimneys, which it depends on for food from chemosynthetic bacteria.

For most of its life, Kiwa tyleri is trapped within the warm water environment of the vent chimney and is unable move between vent sites due to the nearly freezing water in between. Females carrying eggs only move away from vent chimneys, and into the surrounding polar deep-sea, in order to release their larvae; these would, otherwise, not survive the warmer temperatures of the adult habitat.

Crabs and lobsters, which are a characteristic of the global oceans, show an extremely low species number in polar seas. Hydrothermal vent systems found in the Southern Ocean do present a unique warm-water refuge to Yeti Crabs.

Thatje says: 'The Antarctic Yeti Crab is trapped in its warm-water hydrothermal vent site by the cold polar waters of the surrounding deep-sea. The species has adapted to this very limited sized habitat -- of a few cubique metres in volume -- by occurring in highly-packed densities and by relying on bacteria they grow on their fur-like setae for nutrition.'

-end-

Adapted by PLOS ONE from release provided by the author

In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available paper: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0127621

Citation: Thatje S, Marsh L, Roterman CN, Mavrogordato MN, Linse K (2015) Adaptations to Hydrothermal Vent Life in Kiwa tyleri, a New Species of Yeti Crab from the East Scotia Ridge, Antarctica. PLoS ONE 10(6): e0127621. doi:10.1371/journal. pone.0127621

Funding: This work was supported by a NERC (UK) Consortium Grant (NE/D01249X/1; ChEsSo), as well as a grant from the Total Foundation (Abyss2100) to Sven Thatje.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

PLOS
Flat Antarctica
Temperatures in the Arctic are increasing twice as fast as in the rest of the globe, while the Antarctic is warming at a much slower rate.
Antarctica 'greening' due to climate change
Plant life on Antarctica is growing rapidly due to climate change, scientists have found.
Teleconnection between the tropical Pacific and Antarctica
The higher the seawater temperature in the tropical Pacific, the more likely ice breakup will occur in East Antarctica, according to Hokkaido University researchers.
Thought Antarctica's biodiversity was doing well? Think again
Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are not in better environmental shape than the rest of the world.
Antarctica's biodiversity is under threat
A unique international study has debunked the popular view that Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are in much better ecological shape than the rest of the world.
Water is streaming across Antarctica
In the first such continent-wide survey, scientists have found extensive drainages of meltwater flowing over parts of Antarctica's ice during the brief summer.
Unraveling the mystery of snowflakes, from the Alps to Antarctica
Using a special multi-angle camera, EPFL researchers have gained important insights into the structure of snowflakes.
Poor outlook for biodiversity in Antarctica: Study finds
An international study led by Monash scientists has debunked the popular view that Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are in a much better environmental shape than the rest of the world.
Poor outlook for biodiversity in Antarctica
The popular view that Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are in a much better environmental shape than the rest of the world has been brought into question in a study publishing on March 28 in the open access journal PLOS Biology, by an international team lead by Steven L.
New species discovered in Antarctica
A team of Japanese scientists has discovered a new species of polychaete, a type of marine annelid worm, 9-meters deep underwater near Japan's Syowa Station in Antarctica, providing a good opportunity to study how animals adapt to extreme environments.

Best Science Podcasts 2017

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2017. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.

Now Playing: Radiolab

Truth Trolls
Today, a third story of folks relentlessly searching for the truth. But this time, the truth seekers are an unlikely bunch... internet trolls.


Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking School
For most of modern history, humans have placed smaller humans in institutions called schools. But what parts of this model still work? And what must change? This hour, TED speakers rethink education.TED speakers include teacher Tyler DeWitt, social entrepreneur Sal Khan, international education expert Andreas Schleicher, and educator Linda Cliatt-Wayman.