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Yeti Crabs

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updated 13 Jun 2023

Scientists have discovered a hidden world of peculiar species near Antarctica, including swarms of ghostly yeti crabs. These crabs, similar to their relatives in warmer waters, have hairy undersides and were observed crawling over each other near deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Living in complete darkness at depths of over 7,800 feet, these mostly colorless marine animals feed on communities of bacteria that grow on their hair-lined bellies. The males, larger than the females, stay close to the vents, while the females with eggs move farther away into cooler water to protect their embryos. The temperature near the Antarctic vents is comparable to that of warm tropical waters, and other creatures such as barnacles and a rare colorless octopus were also observed. The mineral-rich water spewed by the vents, as hot as 720 degrees Fahrenheit, creates livable conditions for these newly discovered species by nourishing the bacteria that serve as their food source. This groundbreaking discovery was made by a consortium of researchers who captured video footage in the remote East Scotia Ridge, about 2,000 miles east of South America. The exploration of this long-awaited and challenging-to-reach location was made possible by advancements in technology.

Ghostly Yeti Crab Swarms Discovered Near Antarctica