In the deep ocean off the coast of Costa Rica, scientists have found a species of crab that cultivates gardens of bacteria on its claws, then eats them.
The yeti crab — so-called because of the hair-like bristles that cover its arms — is only the second of its family to be discovered. The first — an even hairier species called Kiwa hirsuta — was found in 2005 near Easter Island.
Yeti crabs living around deep-sea methane seeps cultivate the bacteria on which they feed.
Andrew Thurber, a marine ecologist now at Oregon State University in Corvallis, identified the second species a year later. “It was a big surprise,” he says. “There’s a tone of them, they’re not small, and they’re six hours off a major port in Costa Rica.”
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