Creatures dredged from the deep

Date: May 31, 2012

Source: NZ Herald

Author: APNZ

Hairy crabs, fanged worms and midget lobsters are the latest freakish lifeforms dredged up by scientists exploring the sea volcanos of the Kermadec Ridge.

The Niwa scientists returned from the Kermadec Trench with a collection of unusual crabs, worms and lobsters. Photo / Niwa

A three-week New Zealand expedition has returned with thousands of specimens, including deep-sea stalked barnacles that resemble “a stretched neck” and fearsome angler fish with deadly arrays of teeth.

The species, some new to science, were found between 700m and 1500m down into the abyss, living near the hydrothermal vents of the underwater volcanoes.

There are 50 submarine volcanoes along the Kermadec Ridge, which extends almost 1500km between New Zealand and Tonga. Hydrothermal vents of the volcanoes release hot water and gases with different chemical compositions, so specific communities have adapted to survive in each area.

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