Species description

Graciously provided to the author by K. hirsuta discoverer Dr. Michel Segonzac in a personal communication (2009)
Detail of K. hirsuta cheliped and pincer, with setae, toothed edges and granulated surface readily apparent. Click thumbnail to view high-resolution image (980 KB).
(Courtesy M. Segonzac/Ifremer © 2005)

Kiwa hirsuta Macpherson, Jones and Segonzac 2005 is approximately 3.5 inches in length, uniformly white except for its yellow pincers, smooth with rough margins.  Somewhat oblong in shape with a 1.3 length-to-width ratio, it presents a slightly concave dorsal surface and a ventral surface convex to midline.  The carapace tapers to a sharp, toothlike point toward the head, in contrast to its blunt, squarish telson.

Adapted from Macpherson, et al. 2005.  Zoosystema 27(4), p. 714
Detail, male holotype K. hirsuta showing invisible fifth pereopod (dissected). (Courtesy Zoosystema © 2005)

Chelipeds are approximately twice as long as the body and terminate in rough, toothed pincers that feature movable, slightly overlapping fingers.  The fifth pereopod remains hidden inside the carapace and must be dissected to be observed.  Males also possess paired pleopods, though it is not yet known if they serve a reproductive function.

Adapted from Macpherson, et al. 2005.  Zoosystema 27(4), p. 715
Detail, K. hirsuta setae: clusters of flexible setae along top and pairs of rigid setae at lower left and lower right corners.  (Courtesy Zoosystema © 2005)

With the exception of its fifth pereopod, its chelipeds and walking legs are covered with a dense mat of flexible setae approximately 0.6 inches in length, interwoven with clusters of filamentous bacteria.  Rigid (chitinous), barbed setae are also present but do not feature the bacterial clusters.

The eyes are markedly reduced, little more than vestigial membranes with no visual structures or pigment.  It is assumed that the species is blind.

General description