The Hirsute ‘Yeti’ Crab

Kiwa Hirsuta deepwater crab

 

Kiwa Hirsuta, the Hirsute (‘hairy’…aka Yeti) Crab, is just one of the many darlings of the deep. The deep ocean is both literally and figuratively a great wilderness. Even today, the technology to scour the deep ocean is expensive and not readily available to most researchers. Yet, through various channels – usually fisheries – we occasionally find gems like this demure crustacean.

Described fairly recently (Macpherson, Jones and Segonzac, 2005), this blind fascination was collected at 2228M deep with a slurp gun on a geothermal vent at the Easter Island Microplate. The golden setae of this Squat Lobster’s common namesake are a highly sensory evolution. The “hair” is thought by some to assist in feeding (the setae trap chemobacteria). Interestingly, all that is known about this species comes from a single specimen collected via the Alvin submersible on the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge (South Pacific Ocean 37°46.50’S, 110°54.70’W).

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