After the discovery of the Yeti Crab (Kiwa hirsute), scientist at the University of Southampton began to wonder if there were other species in the newly discover genus Kiwa. However, many ecologist, including some of the discovers of the first Yeti Crab, doubted other species existed, and believed that Kiwa was just a single species genus. After expeditions to many underwater trenches across the world (From Antarctica to Costa Rica), two new species of the crab have been discovered, thus adding to the former cryptid list.
Puravida, is a conjunction of the Spanish words “pura” and “vida” meaning pure life and is a common saying within Costa Rica, in whose waters these specimens were collected in. The genus is feminine as is the species name.
The DiscoveryDuring June 2006, scientist discovered a second species of Yeti crab, which they formally dubbed Kiwa puravida. They first observed it swinging its bacteria-laden chelipeds rhythmically at a Costa Rican methane seep.
Specimens were collected with DSRV Alvin on RV Atlantis Cruises AT 15-5, AT 15-44, 15-59 June 16, 2006, February 22– March 23, 2009, and January 1–12, 2010, respectively, at Mound 12 off Costa Rica (8o 55.8′N 84o18.8′W) at depths of 1000–1040 m. One specimen was collected at Mound 11 (8o 55.2′N 84o18.2′W), although few individuals were observed there. Specimens were preserved in 8% buffered formalin or 95% ethanol. In two instances a pereopod was removed for isotopic, genetic, epibiont, and fatty acid analysis and frozen at −80°C.
Measurements of specimens are given in millimeters (mm) and indicate the postorbital carapace length unless otherwise indicated. Specimens are deposited at the Smithsonian (Holotype and Paratype 1) and University of Costa Rica (Paratype 2). Additional specimens are being deposited at NIWA Invertebrate Collection, Wellington, New Zealand, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Benthic Invertebrate Collection.
Vents and seeps are both fueled by similar chemical reactions which has lead to cross-ecosystem comparisons since the first seep community was discovered. Symbionts have been especially enlightening in demonstrating the similarity among these habitats. An initial description of the epibionts found on the Costa Rican Kiwa species found provocative cross-ecosystem similarities among vent and seep crustacean epibionts based on a limited number of short (~500 base pairs) 16S rRNA gene sequences. Here we build upon that research through description of the host's phylogeny and add additional epibiont analysis. Our comparison of host and epibiont evolutionary histories will provide a better understanding of the biogeography of these disparate “islands” of chemoautotrophy in the deep-sea, as we test the hypothesis that K. puravida n. sp. farms its epibiotic bacteria.