The Yeti Crab

Updated: Sep 11, 2020




The Yeti crab, often found on the ocean floor near hydrothermal vents, was recently discovered. It was first observed in March of 2005. It can be found along the Pacific-Antarctic ridge south of Easter Island, about 7,200 feet below the ocean's surface. When Michel Segonzac spotted the strange hairy crab near hydrothermal vents, he asked the research submarine pilots to collect it for research purposes.

Hydrothermal vents occur when hot lava pushes up against the seafloor and causes the earth’s crust to split. When hydrothermal vents were discovered, scientists were baffled by the assortment of sea creatures that live around them. Many of the animals like the Yeti crab have incorporated the bacteria from the hydrothermal vents into their diet for a steady source of nutrition.

Scientists are unsure what the yellow hairs are used for as the Yeti crab was discovered so recently; however, some believe the yellow hairs that the Yeti crab is covered in help collect bacteria as a food source. Because the Yeti crab has no eyes, others believe the hairs act as sensors so it can find a mate. Neither have been confirmed.

Did you know this creature also got its very own classification? Its new species is called kiwa hirsuta!

The Yeti crab lives in the deep sea. “Many of the crabs were hiding underneath and behind rocks. All we could see were the tips of their arms sticking out,”said Joe Jones. As you can see, the Yeti crab is an interesting and strange animal.


Discovery of the “Yeti Crab”.”MABRI Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, MBARI Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, March 2006, https://www.mbari.org/discovery-of-yeti-crab/


“Yeti crab” Kiwa hirsuta. Encyclopedia of Life (2007). Image eIFREMER/A. Fifi; courtesy MBL/WHOI Library.


“Can You Tell Me About the Yeti Crab.” YouTube, Animal Jam, September 23, 2014,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcQOU9OMpLo.


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