Sanctuary Papers: Dose of Natural History and Science – No ecological niche goes uninhabited. Not even the tops of scorching, chimney-like vents found some 2.4 km. deep on the floor of the Southern Ocean, off Antarctica.
Illustration: Vinay A. Salvi.
The yeti crab Kiwa tyleri lives in this utterly inhospitable locale, making the most of the very restricted habitat available in the Atlantic section of the Southern Ocean, between Antarctica and South America. The vents eject water that reaches temperatures of over 300 0C. It is within such limited habitats that the blind, furry, white, yeti crabs thrive. If they step out of their ‘spa’ home range, the water gets much too cold for them to survive. Interestingly, females leave the vents and head for cooler waters to brood their eggs.
First appeared in: Sanctuary Asia, Vol. XXXV No. 8, August 2015.