Friday, September 23, 2011

The Abominable Snowcrab!

Another Crabday, another awesome crab to learn about! This week's Crabday was inspired by this amazing picture of a Chinese mitten crab's claw from the Mitten Crab Recording Project:

Holy hairy awesomeness, Batman! 
Is it weird that I want to pet it?
(And by 'pet it', I mean rub it on my face.)

This crazy furry picture made me think of another fuzzy-sleeved crustacean:

The Yeti Crab!
Kiwa hirsuta

I'm in love!

You've probably seen this guy at least once in the "Whoa, that's weird" section of the news (my first stop for news readin'). These amazing 'yeti' crabs were found 1.5 miles beneath the surface of the ocean at hydrothermal vents about 900 miles south of Easter Island (you know, the one with all the heads). That's where those beautiful hairlike filaments come into play: they use the filaments (with sulfo-oxidizing bacteria) to filter toxic minerals spewing forth from the vents.

yeti crab: 
"Oh hi! I didn't see you there, what with my teeny tiny eyes."

What do they eat in this crazy environment? Mussels of course! The yeti crab is believed to be an omnivore, and was seen munching on mussels crushed by the deep-sea subs.

Watch out, Bythograea crabs: there are two yetis!

I think it's time I come clean: the yeti crab is actually a squat lobster! But, in my defense, squat lobsters are more closely related to crabs than true lobsters. And, come on, aren't you glad you learned about the yeti crab today? I know I am!

this is a male Kiwa hirsuta: see how he almost has 
a lobster tail, but it's SQUAT? If you took a peek under that tail, 
you'd still find his gonopods like true lobsters.

Read more:
MacPherson, E., W. Jones, and M. Segonzac. 2005. A new squat lobster family of Galatheoidea (Crustacea, Decapoda, Anomura) from the hydrothermal vents of the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge. Zoosystema 27: 709-723.

No comments:

Post a Comment