Yeti crab farms bacteria on its arms

By Ed Yong | December 2, 2011 8:21 am

I’ve got a new piece in Nature about a newly discovered species of “yeti crab” that farms bacteria on its arms, then eats them. It lives in the deep ocean, near seeps that belch out methane. The bacteria living on its bristly arms (hence the name “yeti crab”) feed off the seeping gases, and the crab encourage the bacteria to grow by rhythmically waving their arms.

Go to Nature to read the full piece. Meanwhile, I loved this quote from lead author Andrew Thurber, which gets across how much there is left to discover about the oceans: “It was a big surprise. There’s a tonne of them, they’re not small, and they’re six hours off a major port in Costa Rica.”

(Photos by Andrew Thurber)


Comments (6)

  1. Christopher

    At first glance, I thought this post was titled “Yeti Crab Farms.” Yeti’s are real? They farm crabs? Crabs can live in snowy, mountainous environments? My world was briefly rocked.

  2. Reply

    I would like to add that Christopher’s comment ROCKS.

  3. LOL

    I literally couldn’t stop laughing for over a minute after reading Christopher’s comment! You made my day!

  4. Sycopat

    Pfft. Big apes that can live in cold places and farm crabs are dime a dozen on this planet. Crabs which farm bacteria are much more interesting ;p

  5. Matt Gruner

    How big do the crabs get and what preys on the crabs? Do they have to defend their farms from other crabs or some kind of sea rabbit?

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