Several previously unknown, alien-like creatures, including a hairy-chested crab, reside in a deep-sea vent in the Indian Ocean, a team of biologists discovered.
The first Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) exploration of the Longqi vent field, which is called “Dragon’s Breath” in Mandarin, revealed half-dozen previously unknown species of snail and deep-sea worms like limpet, as well as the hairy-chested Hoff crab (Kiwa).
The vent field in question is located 1.7 miles deep in the Indian Ocean, roughly 1,200 miles southeast of Madagascar. The vent spits out dark, iron-sulfide-rich fluids, making the area ideal for certain kinds of marine life.
Researcher Jon Copley, of the University of Southampton, said, “Finding these two species at Longqi shows that some vent animals may be more widely distributed across the oceans than we realized.”
The ROV exploration was launched by a team of researchers led by Copley in November 2011; nearly 4 years after an autonomous vehicle captured the first images of the Longqi field.
The researchers reported their findings in a recent issue of the prestigious journal Scientific Reports.