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November 30, 2012
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Antarctic Hydrothermal Vent by NocturnalSea Antarctic Hydrothermal Vent by NocturnalSea
Earlier this year, a new hydrothermal vent ecosystem was discovered in the waters around Antarctica. Unlike vents in the Pacific and Atlantic, the Antarctic site lacks tube worms, shrimp and mussels. Instead, these vents are inhabited primarily by pale, long-stalked barnacles (Vulcanolepas sp.) and a new species of Yeti crab (Kiwa sp.) colloquially known as "Hasselhoff crabs" due to the abundance of hair-like setae on their chests and the undersides of their carapaces which reminded researchers of the thorax-carpet of a certain well-known TV star. Like their Pacific relatives, Hoff crabs are believed to feed primarily on bacteria that they cultivate on these hairs. Hoff crabs have been observed congregating in enormous, dense piles at these vents.

Other prominent residents of the Antarctic vents include large, pink Actinostolid anemones, brown Peltospiroid snails, Lepetodrilus limpets (seen here as the lighter brown ovals on the carapace of the Hoff crab in the lower right), vent octopi, several species of pycnogonid sea spiders and huge, seven-armed white seastars that prey on the stalked barnacles. Many of the species haven't yet been given official scientific names.

Vertebrates appear to be rare at these vents, except for the ubiquitous zoarcid eels found at most vent sites throughout the world.

You can check out the original research paper here: [link]
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:iconapple-glass:
This is wonderful. I love the stark colour of the black sea and the life forms, almost feels like your down in a submarine.
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:iconcocoloy:
Cocoloy Dec 4, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Beautiful, love the colours and the composition :) Interesting science too!
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:iconforgottendemigod:
ForgottenDemigod Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:aww:
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:iconmeganbednarz:
meganbednarz Dec 2, 2012   General Artist
Interesting example of convergent evolution with the barnacles and tubeworms.
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:iconnocturnalsea:
NocturnalSea Dec 3, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
it is pretty cool. I'm not sure if the barnacles utilize chemosynthetic symbiotic bacteria, but I'd have to assume they do since they haven't been found anywhere else in the deep sea.
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:iconmeganbednarz:
meganbednarz Dec 3, 2012   General Artist
Well I mostly noticed that they are shaped kind of the same, even though the barnacles seem smaller.
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:iconwolfofsahara:
So the Hoff crabs carry their farms with them? That's neat!
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:iconnocturnalsea:
NocturnalSea Dec 2, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
yep, just like Yeti crabs, who carry their farms on their hairy arms.
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:icontarturus:
Tarturus Dec 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Awesome pic.
Antarctica has some pretty fascinating wildlife. ^^
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:iconnocturnalsea:
NocturnalSea Dec 2, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
thanks
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