Researchers have discovered a new world of sea creatures while exploring underwater vents near Antarctica, reports Stephanie Pappas of LiveScience.
A roving sea vehicle equipped with a camera recorded the first glimpse of a new species of hairy-chested yeti crab clustered around deep-sea vents where warm waters emanate.
Temperatures near hydrothermal vents can reach 400°C (752°F), supporting various other types of rarely-seen creatures.
Scientists also spotted an unfamiliar species of pale octopus, a predatory seven-armed seafish, sea anemones, and barnacles.
The discoveries were published in the Journal of PLos Biology on Tuesday.
Scientists were surprised to find that the Antarctic vents did not host species of worms, crabs, mussels, and shrimps commonly found in hydrothermal vents of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans.
“We were absolutely stunned to see the animal communities, because they were so different from the hydrothermal vents seen elsewhere,” Alex Rogers, a professor of zoology at Oxford University told LiveScience.
Although the Southern Ocean is known to be a hotbed of deep-sea biodiversity, this is the first time hydrothermal vents have been explored in Antarctica, mostly because extreme conditions make it difficult to do research.
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