Wednesday, 4 March 2015

In hot and cold water: The private lives of 'Hoff' crabs revealed

March 3, 2015

University of Southampton

Researchers have shed light on the private life of a new species of deep-sea crab, previously nicknamed the 'Hoff' crab because of its hairy chest.

Male and female Hoff crabs lead largely separate lives at volcanic vents 1.5 miles (2.4 km) deep on the ocean floor near Antarctica, because of the conflicting demands of feeding and raising young among the sexes.

In 2010, a British expedition revealed a 'lost world' of deep-sea animals thriving around volcanic vents on the ocean floor near Antarctica. Among the many new species of deep-sea creatures was a hairy-chested crab. Using a deep-diving remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to examine the distribution, size and sex of these crabs at the vents, Dr Leigh Marsh and her colleagues have now pieced together their private lives.

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