Saturday, December 3, 2011

Animal of the week: The yeti crab

"...imagine theres no sun..."
This is probably something John Lennon would have written in the lyrics of imagine if he were a Yeti crab. Fortunately enough he wasn't a yeti crab, because if he was e would probably not have had the cognitive skills needed to write such master pieces. 

The Yeti crabs are (not very skilled in terrestrial music culture), as their name implies, white and hairy. They live in deep water with the first species discovered off the coast of Easter island in 2005 (Macpherson et al. 2005) and the second species the following year (Thurber et al. 2011). The two species have been assigned a genus, Kiwa

The interesting thing about these crabs is not that they are white and hairy, although thats pretty awesome in a way, but that they actually culture bacteria on their hairs and use these as their main food source. But the coolness about these critters does not even stop here! The bacteria they culture produces energy from the inorganic gases on the sea floor were these crabs roam about. This mean that the crabs actually live a Sun isolated life fueled purely by the gases of the deep sea floor!  

Some references: 
Macpherson, E., Jones, W. & Segonzac, M. Zoosystema 27, 709–723 (2005). 
Thurber, A. R., Jones, W. J. & Schnabel, K. PLoS ONE. 6, e26243 (2011).

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