UK scientists have stumbled upon a new crab species on the Southern Ocean floor. The new crab species was named the Hoff because of its hairy chest. The Hoff lives around volcanic vents off South Georgia. The animal has yet to be formally classified. It is, however, a type of yeti crab.
Yeti crabs were first identified in the southern Pacific and are known for their hairs, or setae, along their claws and limbs that they use to cultivate the bacteria which they then eat. However, the new species found around the vents that fill the East Scotia Ridge are slightly different in their appearance.
The novel types of starfish, barnacles, sea anemones, and an octopus are also found in the region. There were as many as 600 animals found per square metre. The UK robotic submersible, Isis, was employed to investigate the ridge near Antarctica.
The region is dotted with hydrothermal vents (cracks in the volcanic rock where mineral-rich, hot waters flow from below the seabed to sustain an extraordinary array of organisms).
Vent systems in other parts of the world are occupied by animals like tubeworms, mussels, other types of crab, and shrimps. These animals were not found in the East Scotia Ridge.