A New Species of the Genus Kiwa (Decapoda: Anomura) from the Hydrothermal Vent of the Australia-Antarctic Ridge

Friday, 19 December 2014: 9:45 AM
Yong-Jin Won, Ewha Womans University, Department of Life Science, Seoul, South Korea, Sang-Hui Lee, MBIK Marine Biodiversity Institute of Korea, Seochun-gun, South Korea and Won-Kyung Lee, Ewha Womans University, Division of EcoScience, Seoul, South Korea
Due to extreme weather conditions and remoteness to access, the great part of the Southern Ocean remains to be explored. Therefore, little is known about the Circum-Antarctic Ridge (CAR) system and its hydrothermal vent ecosystem underlying the Southern Ocean. We report the first discovery of a new deep-sea hydrothermal vent field and a new anomuran species from the Australia-Antarctic Ridge (AAR), the highest latitude (62°S; 158°E) explored in the Southern Ocean up to date. At this site, a new anomuran species which belongs to the genus Kiwa known as ‘yeti crabs’ was found. Morphologically, this species has characteristics of the genus Kiwa, including fifth pereopod inserted below sterna plastron, third sternite strongly produced anteriorly, and eyes extremely reduced. However, the new species differs from the other known species of Kiwa, K. hirsuta and K. puravida, showing relatively short rostrum and slender dactylus on second to fourth pereopods. Phylogenetic analysis using DNA sequences of eight genetic loci also supported the result of morphological analysis, confirming this species as a new Kiwa species, Kiwa n. sp. In addition, phylogenetic tree revealed the evolutionary relationship among the Kiwa species, presenting the Kiwa n. sp. as the sister species to K. puravida which inhabits the methane cold seep on the Pacific continental slope off Costa Rica. Considering the geography and the physicochemical environment, this unlikely result casts a mystery to be solved through further taxon sampling particularly from as-yet-unexplored vents and seeps. Discovery of the hydrothermal vent and Kiwa n. sp. from the AAR segment is significant because this site is located in the high latitude of the southern hemisphere and it is the region affected by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC). Future research on the relation of Kiwa n. sp. and the other Kiwa species affected by the ACC will provide an idea about the biogeography and the evolutionary connections of the vent faunas in the CAR system.