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'Hoff' Crab's Scientific Name Nothing Like David Hasselhoff

By    |   Thursday, 25 June 2015 12:08 PM

The "Hoff" crab, nicknamed after actor David Hasselhoff and first discovered by scientists in 2010, now has its own scientific name: Kiwa tyleri.

The crabs, which tend to live in water from 95 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, were originally found on the side of vents northeast of the Antarctic Peninsula, according to Newsweek magazine. Because it's so unusual to find water so warm, the crabs often live tightly bunched near hydrothermal vents.


The belly of the crab is covered in hair-like structures that harbor bacteria, leading to the creature's humorous moniker referencing the oft bare-chested Hasselhoff, according to BBC News.

According to a study published Wednesday in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, more than 700 of the newly discovered crabs can be found within one square meter, or one-third of the size of a queen-size mattress. Researchers said in their study that up to 4,000 were found in the same area, noted Newsweek.

"Because of these environmental conditions, connectivity of populations inhabiting vent sites in the Southern Ocean may be even more constrained than elsewhere in the oceans," the study's introduction said. Kiwa tyleri are placed the family of the yeti crabs.

"Whether or not Southern Ocean vents represent bottlenecks for the distribution and radiation of taxa throughout this polar environment is one of the key questions in the study of global vent biogeography," said the study.

Sven Thatje, lead author of the report and associate professor of marine evolutionary ecology at the University of Southampton in England, told Live Science.com that the vents provides a type of sauna for the crabs in otherwise chilly water temperatures.

"Crabs and lobsters are very rare in Antarctic/Southern Ocean waters because of the unusually low seawater temperatures," Thatje told Live Science.com. "A physiological limit to maintaining activities required for survival (ventilation, molting, mating) appears to exist at around 0.5 degrees C (32.9 degrees F)."

Live Science.com wrote that the Yeti crabs food source, bacteria that goes on the hairy bodies of the crabs, also allows them to stay close to their warm habitats.

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The "Hoff" crab, nicknamed after actor David Hasselhoff and first discovered by scientists in 2010, now has its own scientific name: Kiwa tyleri.
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Thursday, 25 June 2015 12:08 PM
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