• Scientists exploring underwater vents near Antarctica find a world of creatures thriving in temperatures of 400C

  •  Hundreds of hairy-chested yeti crabs, a mysterious-looking pale octopus and colonies of limpets, snails and barnacles were found by British scientists at a hydrothermal vent located in the ocean's East Scotia Ridge.

  • Prof Alex Rogers of Oxford University used a remotely operated vehicle called Isis to scout the sea bed around the ridge, which spans about 2.4km and features springs of black, smoky water that can reach temperatures of almost 400C (752F).

  • The first-known yeti crab, Kiwa hirsuta, was described living near a hydrothermal vent in the south pacific in 2005 and, since then, several species have been discovered in different parts of the undersea world. 

  • Hirsuta has long hairs on its limbs and its claws, whereas our yeti crabs have extremely hairy chests. One of the nicknames of the crabs which developed during the cruise was the Hasselhoff crabs because they had these dense mats of [hair] on their undersides, the equivalents of their chests."

  • Another striking creature spotted by the scientists was a pale octopus, which was photographed by the team. Rogers suspected it might be a new species related to the Vulcanoctopus hydrothermalis seen at other underwater vents around the world.