Home grown

Tuesday January 10, 2012 Written by amanda

Meet the Yeti crab (Kiwa puravida). This guy is taking the concept of green thumbs to a whole new level of literality by growing his own food on his claws – without sunlight!

A submarine pilot assisting with the study of a deep-sea sulphur seep off the coast of Costa Rica in 2006 noticed a number of hairy crabs waving their arms over the active seep (see video, below).

By matching the bacteria growing on the Yeti crab's claw bristles to its gut content, marine ecologist Andrew Thurber has now confirmed that these crabs cultivate gardens of symbiotic bacteria (which get their energy from the inorganic gases of the seeps rather than the sun) on their own bodies as their main food source.

Breaking news: scientists recently nicknamed the Yeti 'The Hoff' crab, due to its hairy chest. The Hoff himself proudly sanctioned the name by tweeting about it.