Yeti crab grows food on its claws

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 (video). The first known species of these blind white crabs, Kiwa hirsuta, were found near boiling-hot hydrothermal vents roughly 7,500 feet (2,300 meters) deep.

The bristles that cover the crab’s claws and body are coated in gardens of symbiotic bacteria, which derive energy from the inorganic gases of the seeps. The crab eats the bacteria, using comb-like mouthparts to harvest them from its bristles. Learn more here or here.

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