Science and Tech
You Shall Not Pass! ...This Strange Science Pic Quiz

Marshall Lemon | 14 Nov 2014 18:00
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Congratulations! You've discovered the elusive Yeti!

Yeti crab, that is. This crustacean was first discovered by the scientific community in 2005, where it prompted the name thanks to lengthy hair on its legs, back, and claws. Except that's not actually hair. It's a silky blond setae (bristles, basically) used for farming its favorite food source: Delicious bacteria.

Yeti crabs, a term referring to two subspecies (kiwa hirsuta and kiwa puravida), live a thousand feet underwater in the South Pacific Ocean - which explains why we've only learned about them recently. It turns out there are quite a few methane and sulfide vents down there, which the yeti crab waves its claws over to fertilize bacteria on its arms. This bacteria appears to be a food source for the crab, and may actually play a vital role in detoxifying the clearly poisonous substances that emerge from the vent.

Not that its diet consists solely of bacteria; scientists spotted the Yeti fighting with two other crabs for a piece of shrimp, implying that it may also be carnivorous. Regardless, it has a fascinating role in the Pacific Ocean's depths, so science will likely uncover more in the coming years.

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