French scientist finds 'Yeti crab' in Pacific depths

8th March 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 8, 2006 (AFP) - A French biologist on Wednesday reported the find of a bizarre species of hairy crustacean that lives near hydrothermal vents in the deep Pacific Ocean.

PARIS, March 8, 2006 (AFP) - A French biologist on Wednesday reported the find of a bizarre species of hairy crustacean that lives near hydrothermal vents in the deep Pacific Ocean.

The creature, a previously unidentified species of squat lobster, is so furry that it has been dubbed the "Yeti crab."

Michel Segonzac, of the French Institute of Research for the Study and Exploitation of the Sea (Ifremer), told AFP that the white-shelled creature measured about 15 centimetres (six inches) from tip to toe and had silky white fur over its 10 legs.

It was captured at an extreme depth of 2,300 metres (7,475 feet) by a manned submersible sent down by the research vessel RV Atlantis in a joint US-French expedition to the Pacific-Antarctic ridge south of Easter Island, he said.

The "yeti" becomes the latest member of Galatheoidea, a category of the Decapoda (10-legged) order, to which lobsters, crabs and prawns (US shrimp) belong.

Its formal name is Kiwa hirsuta, derived from Kiwa, the goddess of shellfish in the native Eastern Island culture, and hirsuta, for hairy.

"It's the first time since the end of the 19th century that a new member of this group has been found," said Segonzac.

"There may be others farther south, near the coast of Antarctica, but the weather conditions there are difficult and there is a big swell, which makes an oceanographic mission more difficult."

The discovery has been published in Zoosystema, the journal of France's National Museum of Natural History.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article