The blind crustacean, Kiwa hirsuta, is about 15 centimetres long. (AP photo)

A new crustacean that looks like a lobster covered in silky, blond fur has been discovered in the South Pacific.

The creature has been called the "Yeti crab."

Scientists have labelled it with its own genus and species, Kiwa hirsute: "Kiwa" after the goddess of shellfish in native Polynesian culture and "hirsute" because it's hairy.

The crustacean has a white shell and 10 legs.

It measures about 15 centimetres from tip to toe, or about the size of a salad plate, said Michel Segonzac of the French Institute of Research for the Study and Exploitation of the Sea.

The researcher co-authored a paper that describes the find in the most recent issue of Zoosystema, the journal of the National Museum of Natural History in France.

The blind creature has pincers covered in hairy strands and has "the vestige of a membrane" instead of eyes, Segonzac told the Associated Press.

A U.S.-French expedition in a submersible caught the creature at a depth of 2,300 metres in a hydrothermal vent about 1,500 kilometres south of Easter Island last year, the team reported.

The crustacean is the newest member of Galatheoidea, a group of 10-legged animals that includes lobsters, crabs and prawns.