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A collection of amazing sea creatures have been discovered deep in the ocean near Antarctica.

Unknown species of the "lost world", including crabs, octopus, starfish and anemones, were found around volcanic vents in the Southern Ocean at depths of more than 2,000 metres (6,500ft).

Researchers from the University of Oxford, University of Southampton, the National Oceanography Centre, and British Antarctic Survey discovered the creatures using a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV).

They came across the creatures clustered near hydrothermal vents where temperatures reach up to 382 degrees Celsius in a unique environment lacking sunlight but rich in minerals that sustain life.

"Hydrothermal vents are home to animals found nowhere else on the planet that get their energy not from the sun but from breaking down chemicals, such as hydrogen sulphide," said Professor Alex Rogers of Oxford University's zoology department.

"The first survey of these particular vents has revealed a hot, dark, 'lost world' in which whole communities of previously unknown marine organisms thrive."

Highlights from the discovery include a new species of yeti crab, a seven-armed predatory starfish and an unidentified pale octopus.

"These findings are yet more evidence of the precious diversity to be found throughout the world's oceans," said Rogers.

"Everywhere we look, whether in the sunlit coral reefs of tropical waters or these Antarctic vents shrouded in eternal darkness, we find unique ecosystems that we need to understand and protect."