Hairy-Chested Yeti Crabs Dubbed ‘Hoff Crabs’ After Baywatch Star

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NERC CHESSO Consortium

Affectionately dubbed "Hoff crabs," these newly-discovered yeti crabs have hairy chests unlike any species previously found.

He starred in Baywatch, cut a number of chart-topping singles in Austria and Germany, and even showed off his twinkle toes on Dancing with the Stars – albeit for just one episode. But this might be David Hasselhoff’s most fame-worthy moment to date: scientists have nicknamed a new species of crab after him.

When researchers uncovered a trove of new creatures while exploring deep-sea vents in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica, they struggled with attaching monikers to the never-before-seen species. Until their scientific names are spelled out, the research team left it to their sense of humor. So the glistening yeti crabs with hairy chests were dubbed “Hoff crabs”, paying homage to the Baywatch star of the same attributes.

(PHOTOS: Antarctica Discovery: New Species in the Deep Ocean)

The first species of yeti crab discovered in 2005 is known for hairy arms and claws, but this recent discovery yielded crabs with mats of hair on their abdomen, prompting the celebrity name. “Scientists like a bit of lighthearted humor when they’ve been out at sea for two months,” expedition leader and University of Oxford biologist Alex Rogers told NPR. He later told MSNBC, “An alternative name that was being batted around was the wookie crab — again for obvious reasons. The Hoff stuck.”

While it’s doubtful the nickname will stick after a formal designation is worked out, Hasselhoff tweeted that he was pleased to be recognized in such a scientific manner.

The wriggling yeti crabs were found nearly two miles under the sea floor, bleached white because they had never been exposed to the sun. They cluster in thousands near hydrothermal vents that spew scalding-hot 800° F steam and chemicals to sustain them. All the Hoff needs, apparently, is a cheeseburger.

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