8 Sep 2011

Giant crabs found on edge of Antarctica

5:51 pm on 8 September 2011

King crabs have been found on the edge of Antarctica.

Writing in the Proceedings B journal, scientists report a large population of Neolithodes Yaldwyni in the Palmer Deep, a basin in the continental shelf.

The crabs are more than 1 metre wide and have probably been there for 30 to 40 years.

Related species have been found around islands off the Antarctic Peninsula and on the outer edge of the continental shelf.

But the BBC reports these are living and reproducing in abundance on the edge of the continent itself.

They were discovered by a team led by Dr Craig Smith, a Professor of Oceanography at the University of Hawaii.

The BBC reports researchers sent the Genesis, a submersible remotely operated vehicle from the University of Ghent in Belgium, into the Palmer Deep in March last year.

Judging by the density of the crabs and their tracks, the scientists estimate there may be 1.5 million crabs in the basin.