Furry ‘lobster’ found in Pacific

By | March 9, 2006
The animal’s pincers are covered in sinuous hair-like strands

MBARI/PAR 5/B. Virjenhoek/AFP/Getty Images

The dive discovered the animals at a location south of Easter Island

MBARI/PAR 5/B. Virjenhoek/AFP/Getty Images

K. hirsuta is part of a diverse ecology that exists around Pacific vents

Marine biologists have discovered a crustacean in the South Pacific that resembles a lobster or crab covered in what looks like silky fur. Kiwa hirsuta is so distinct from other species that scientists have created a new taxonomic family for it.

A US-led team found the animal last year in waters 2,300m (7,540ft) deep at a site 1,500km (900 miles) south of Easter Island, an expert has claimed.

Details appear in the journal of Paris’ National Museum of Natural History.

The diving expedition was organised by Robert Vrijenhoek of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California.

The “Yeti Crab”, as it has been dubbed, is white and 15cm (5.9in) long, according to Michel Segonzac of the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (Ifremer).

In what he has described as a “surprising characteristic”, the animal’s pincers are covered with sinuous, hair-like strands. It seems to reside around some Pacific deep sea hydrothermal vents, which spew out fluids that are toxic to many animals. – MORE

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