A new crustacean discovered in South Pacific waters 7,540 feet deep, 900 miles south of Easter Island resembles a lobster covered with what looks like silky, blond fur, researchers said Tuesday. The animal is white and just shy of 6 inches long — about the size of a salad plate. It has as a “surprising characteristic,” its blind and the animal’s pincers are covered with sinuous, hair-like strands, possibly the animals sensory organ.
Scientists said the animal, which they named Kiwa hirsuta, was so distinct from other species that they created a new family and genus for it. The family was named Kiwaida, from Kiwa, the goddess of crustaceans in Polynesian mythology. The researchers said that while legions of new ocean species are discovered each year, it is quite rare to find one that merits a new family.
The diving expedition was organized by Robert Vrijenhoek of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California.