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The Kiwa Hirsuta

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The Kiwa hirsuta The Kiwa hirsuta is more commonly known as the Yeti Crab is an interesting little organism. It comes from the Domain: Eukarya, Kingodm of: Animalia, Phylum: Anthropoda, Class: Malacostraca, Order: Decapoda, Family: Kiwaidae, Good: Kiwa, Species: K. hirsuta. In order for an organism to be classified into the Kingdom of Animalia, it has to have specific characteristics. The most frequently used cataloging information would be that the organism has to be multicellular. They must also have aerobic metabolism in which oxygen helps to create energy within the organism. Another way to tell if an organism is to be classified into the Kingdom of Animalia would be that they produce genetically varied gametes. They also feed on other organisms’, usually plants and/or animals, and they digest their food within their own systems (Bradshaw, PP, p 21). The Yeti Crab is a crustacean that was just recently discovered. The Kiwa hirsuta was first observed in 2001, but it was not until March of 2005 that this organism was discovered by Macpherson, Jones & Segonzac, living in the depths of the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge, just south of Easter Island in the South Pacific Ocean. Scientists believe that they have a limited geographical area, keeping near to the 38 degree S and the 100 degree W. They also consider that the Juan Fernando Microplate may play a part in keeping the Kiwa hirsuta in this area (Marine). This lovely little creature usually only grows to be about six inches long. The most prominent feature of them would be that they have blond setae (blond hair) covering their legs. The hairy legs are one of the main reasons that the people who discovered them called them the “Yeti Crab”, mainly
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because they thought they seen a resemblance to the “Yeti” (the abominable snowman). They are also thought to have vestigial membranes where eyes would be because they lack the pigment to be able to see (Wikipedia). Because of their lack of eyes, the hairy pincers, and genetic code it does not fall into any of the previously formed Family classifications. Due to the Kiwa hirsuta evolving from other members of the Galatheoidea family, scientists created a new taxonomic group to include the Yeti Crab. The new Family of Kiwaidae, which came from being named after Kiwa, which means the Polynesian goddess of shellfish, and hirsuta which means hairy, was formed (Marine). The Yeti Crab lives at the bottom of the ocean, some 7,200 feet below the surface. Even though the water there is around the 32 degree mark, these creatures are found hovering around the hydrothermal vents along the floor and release hot water. When the hot water is released it is said to be at some 140 degrees. There were some 600 Yeti Crab living all together per square meter (Pappas). With sun light not being able to penetrate at this depth, they use the setae on their arms help them to harvest the food that they eat. When they are hovering over the vents and enjoying the hot water that is emerging, they are also collecting bacteria in the hairs so that they can harvest them later for their food. The vents are said to be filled with minerals that are very rich in sulfur and metals, and “specialized bacteria live off of these hot, metal-rich hydrothermal fluids” (Fulton-Bennett). Another source of food for this organism would be that of the tissue from mussels that have been cracked open, making it easier for the Yeti Crab to reach the tissue for feeding. “Kiwa is a predator and must rely on other animals for diet, which

3 have adapted to harness energy from hydrogen sulfide (H2S) instead of light providing an abundant source of food for predators like K. hirsuta” (Wendzich, et al).

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Work Cited
Bradshaw, Timothy. “Diversity of Life”. PowerPoint. 2012.
Fulton-Bennett, Kim. “Discovery of the ‘Yeti Crab’”. Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Web. 25 April 2012. www.mbari.org.
“Kiwa hirsuta”. Wikipedia. 29 April 2012. Web. www.en.wikipedia.org.
“Marine Life Discoveries”. Census of Marine Life. Web. 29 April 2012. www.coml.org.
Pappas, Stephanie. “Yeti Crab & Ghost Octopus! Unique Life Found at 1st Antarctic Deep-Sea Vents”. LiveScience. 3 Jan 2012. Web. 25 April 2012. www.livescience.com.
Wendzich, Rad, Nate Abdo, Charles Graysmark. Arizona State University. Web.
29 April 2012. www.public.asu.edu.

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