Overview

Comprehensive Description

"During a series of submersible dives on the Easter Island Microplate, Michel Segonzac, a Census of Marine Life scientist participating in the March-April 2005 PAR 5 Research Expedition (Chief Scientist: R. Vrijoeneck, MBARI, USA)"., encountered a unique "hairy" crustacean on a hydrothermal site. Dubbed the "Yeti Crab", the crustacean so interested the scientists that they collected a specimen for examination.

This "Yeti Crab" has not been previously encountered in 30 + years of hydrothermal vent exploration. It has proved to be new to science and has been classified as belonging to a new family of crustaceans. Being described as a decapod crustacean, the Yeti Crab would be related to crabs, lobster, and shrimp. However, close examination has revealed that the unique morphology, including a lack of eyes and a profusion of hairlike setae , as well as the genetic code of this organism, Kiwa hirsuta, does not fall within the boundaries of previously described taxonomic groups. This has led to the description and proposal of the new family Kiwaidae, named after Kiwa the Polynesian goddess of shellfish."


(Marine Life Discoveries, Census of Marine Life)

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Color: Uniformly white, with yellow corneous tip at the extremity of the chelipeds 1.
  • MACPHERSON E., JONES W.J. & M. SEGONZAC (2005) Zoosystema 27(4): 709-723.

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Occurs at densities of one to two individuals per 10 m2, more or less regularly spaced on the zone of pillow basalt surrounding active hydrothermal vents, and at the base of chimneys among vent mussels Bathymodiolus sp., crabs bythograeid spp. and ophidiid fish. Omnivorous.
  • MACPHERSON E., JONES W.J. & M. SEGONZAC (2005) Zoosystema 27(4): 709-723.

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Distribution

"The “Yeti crab was observed on three hydrothermal sites distributed on nearly 1.5 km along the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge segment: Sebastian’s Steamer (37°47.48’S, 110°54.85’W, 2204 m), Pâle Étoile (37º47.36’S, 110º54.85’W, 2215 m) and Annie’s Anthill (37°46.49’S, 110°54.72’W, 2228 m), 1.2 km northern. This site is the northern boundary known of the “Yeti crab." (Macpherson, Jones & Segonzac, 2005)

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Pacific-Antarctic Rise: German Flats, 38°S. This animal was first observed (and noted as ?type Shinkaiinae?, but not collected), in 2001 by the German cruise Sonne SO-157 (STECHER et al. 2002).
  • MACPHERSON E., JONES W.J. & M. SEGONZAC (2005) Zoosystema 27(4): 709-723.

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Physical Description

Morphology

Carapace, excluding rostrum, 1.3 times longer than broad, dorsal surface smooth. Front margin slightly oblique, with small tooth near rostrum; anterolateral angle rounded. Rostrum broadly triangular, horizontal, slightly concave dorsally, lateral borders granulated, with long uniramous setae; ventral side slightly carinated. Insertion of fifth pereopod not visible and situated below sternal plastron. Eyes strongly reduced, membranous remains, without pigment. Antennal scale absent. Antennal peduncle without scaphocerite. Flagellum as long as carapace without rostrum. Chelipeds and walking legs with dense mat of setae. Telson as wide as long, median transverse suture separating anterior and posterior portions. Chelipeds and walking legs with numerous rows of spines, each spine with yellow corneal tip and tuft of long and dense plumose setae, only absent in cheliped fingers, setae denser and longer in mesial and ventral sides than in lateral and dorsal sides. Chelipeds nearly symmetric, slightly more than twice as long as carapace including rostrum. Fingers somewhat triangular, without setae, having numerous spines decreasing in size distally, distal areas of fingers unarmed; slightly gapping, and distally spoon-shaped; movable finger with proximal large denticulate tooth followed by cutting margin bordered with smooth, low, corneous scales, ending in acute corneous point; fixed finger with some proximal small teeth, followed by cutting edge similar to movable finger and ending in acute corneous point, additional row of mesial granules ending in acute corneous point; fingers distally crossing, corneous tip of movable finger crossing between two corneous tips of fixed finger. Paired pleopods present. Setae: the pereopods, and in particular the chelipeds, are densely covered with flexible setae (ca. 15 mm) having clusters of filamentous bacteria, mainly at distal part. Other rigid chitinous setae (ca. 13 mm) are barbed in the distal part, ending in a rigid spine, and they are regularly inserted in pairs mainly on the merus of the chelipeds. They are deprived of bacteria.
  • MACPHERSON E., JONES W.J. & M. SEGONZAC (2005) Zoosystema 27(4): 709-723.

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Size

Carapace length 51.5 mm (58.6 mm with rostrum), total length 88.4 mm.
  • MACPHERSON E., JONES W.J. & M. SEGONZAC (2005) Zoosystema 27(4): 709-723.

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Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 2 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 2 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 220 - 2228
  Temperature range (°C): 2.152 - 9.740
  Nitrate (umol/L): 13.305 - 34.922
  Salinity (PPS): 34.251 - 34.638
  Oxygen (ml/l): 3.794 - 5.560
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.969 - 2.550
  Silicate (umol/l): 4.859 - 100.754

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 220 - 2228

Temperature range (°C): 2.152 - 9.740

Nitrate (umol/L): 13.305 - 34.922

Salinity (PPS): 34.251 - 34.638

Oxygen (ml/l): 3.794 - 5.560

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.969 - 2.550

Silicate (umol/l): 4.859 - 100.754
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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"The new species occurs at densities of one to two individuals per 10 m2, more or less regularly spaced on the zone of pillow basalt surrounding active hydrothermal vents... Specimens were also observed on extinct chimneys and at the base of black smokers, among vent mussels, where shimmering milky water emanates."
(Macpherson, Jones & Segonzac, 2005)

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Trophic Strategy

"Like other vent decapod crustaceans Kiwa hirsuta n. gen., n. sp. is probably omnivorous. Specimens were observed in situ consuming tissues of mussels damaged by submersible sampling activities." (Macpherson, Jones & Segonzac, 2005)

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Associations

"The presence on the legs of dense bacteriophoran setae colonized by mats of probably sulfo-oxidizing bacteria, makes it possible to regard this species as an obligate associated to the hydrothermal vents. These bacteria could serve as a nutritional resource." (Macpherson, Jones & Segonzac, 2005)

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Evolution and Systematics

Evolution

Systematics and Taxonomy

"The new genus and species is sufficiently different from all other galatheoid families to justify the establishment of a new family. The 18S rRNA phylogeny confirms the clear difference between anomuran families, placing the new taxa closer to the families Chirostylidae, Galatheidae and Porcellanidae than to Aeglidae." (Macpherson, Jones & Segonzac, 2005)

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Wikipedia

Kiwa hirsuta

Kiwa hirsuta is a crustacean discovered in 2005 in the South Pacific Ocean.[1] This decapod, which is approximately 15 cm (5.9 in) long, is notable for the quantity of silky blond setae (resembling fur) covering its pereiopods (thoracic legs, including claws). Its discoverers dubbed it the "yeti lobster" or "yeti crab".[2]

Identification[edit]

K. hirsuta was discovered in March 2005 by a group organized by Robert Vrijenhoek of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Monterey, California and Michel Segonzac of the Ifremer and a Census of Marine Life scientist using the submarine DSV Alvin, operating from RV Atlantis.[3] The discovery was announced on 7 March 2006. It was found along the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge, 1,500 kilometres (930 mi) south of Easter Island at a depth of 2,200 metres (7,200 ft), living on hydrothermal vents.[1] Based on both morphology and molecular data, the organism was deemed to form a new biological family (Kiwaidae);[4] a second species, Kiwa puravida, was discovered in 2006 and described in 2011.[5]

Characteristics[edit]

The animal has strongly reduced eyes that lack pigment, and is thought to be blind. The "hairy" pincers contain filamentous bacteria, which the creature may use to detoxify poisonous minerals from the water emitted by the hydrothermal vents where it lives. This process is known as chemosynthesis. Alternatively, it may feed on bacteria, although it is generally thought to be a carnivore.[2]

Although it is often referred to as the "furry lobster" outside the scientific literature,[2] Kiwa hirsuta is a squat lobster, more closely related to crabs and hermit crabs than true lobsters. The term "furry lobster" is more commonly used for the family Synaxidae.

Etymology[edit]

Macpherson et al. named the genus Kiwa after "the goddess of the shellfish in the Polynesian mythology", although Kiwa is a male guardian of the sea in Māori mythology.[6] Hirsuta means "hairy" in Latin.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b E. Macpherson, W. Jones & M. Segonzac (2006). "A new squat lobster family of Theological (Crustacean, Decapoda, Anomura) from the hydrothermal vents of the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge" (PDF). Zoosystema 27 (4): 709–723. 
  2. ^ a b c "'Furry lobster' found in Pacific". BBC News. March 8, 2006. 
  3. ^ "Easter Microplate Expedition March 12–April 6, 2005". Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. 
  4. ^ Cornelia Dean (March 14, 2006). "In the deep, deep sea, the 'yeti crab'". New York Times. Retrieved December 6, 2010. 
  5. ^ Andrew R. Thurber, William J. Jones & Kareen Schnabel (2011). "Dancing for food in the deep sea: bacterial farming by a new species of yeti crab". PLoS ONE 6 (11): e26243. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026243. 
  6. ^ Elsdon Best (1924). "IV. Cosmogony and Anthropogeny". The Maori - Volume 1. pp. 89–105. 
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