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Images: Lurking Benignly on the Seafloor, the ‘Yeti’ Crab is Discovered

The name of the new family of deep-sea crab discovered in March 2005 is Kiwaidae, which comes from Kiwa, a Polynesian goddess of crustaceans. Less formally, the newfound creature has become known as the ?Yeti? crab, after the legendary shaggy ?snowman? of the Himalayas. (Photo courtesy of Michel Segonzac, IFREMER)

Biologist Michel Segonzac with the 6-inch Yeti crab in his lab at Institut Francais de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER) in France. The crab is now stored at the French National History Museum in Paris, part of its large reference collection of deep-sea crabs. (Photo by J.Y. Quintin, IFREMER)

Scientists are beginning to study the bacteria living on the crab's bristles; video footage shows the crabs holding their hairy claws over plumes of hot, mineral-rich fluid flowing from seafloor cracks called hydrothermal vents. But how the crab uses the bacteria remains a mystery. (Photo by J.Y. Quintin, IFREMER)