Other Names: moustache worm clinical Name: Riftia pachyptila size Range: up to 8 feet lengthy Habitat: Pacific s Depth Range: end 5,000 feet


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large Tube Worm (Riftia pachyptila)

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The giant tube worm, likewise known as Riftia pachyptila, was entirely unknown to science until researchers trying out the deep Pacific ocean floor uncovered strange, hydrothermal vents. Powered by volcano heat, these vents recirculate water the seeps down v cracks or faults in the rock. As soon as the water emerges from the vent, that is wealthy in chemicals and also minerals. This toxic soup of chemicals would certainly be lethal to many animals, so scientists were shocked to find entire ecosystems of animals living roughly these vents. Regardless of the near boiling temperature of the water, these pets were flourishing in the complete absence of light. The organisms the live close to these vents are distinctive because, unlike all other living things on earth, they execute not rely on sunlight for their source of energy. Instead, they feed on tiny bacteria that acquire their energy straight from the chemicals in the water with a process known as chemosynthesis. These hydrothermal vents are known as "black smokers" due to the fact that of the dark shade of the material they eject. The large tube worms are very closely related come the numerous smaller varieties of tube worms the inhabit shallower waters.

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Closeup of giant tube worm swarm (NOAA public Domain Image)

These large tube worms prosper up come eight feet (over two meters) in length and also have no mouth and also no digestive tract. They rely on bacteria that live inside them for their food. This type of mutually valuable relationship between two organisms is known as symbiosis. The bacteria actually transform the chemicals from the hydrothermal vents right into organic molecule that carry out food because that the worm.

Perhaps the many noticeable properties of this worms is their bright red plume. This is a specialized organ supplied for trading compounds such as oxygen, carbon dioxide, and also hydrogen sulphide v the seawater. The shining red color comes indigenous the existence of huge amounts of hemoglobin (blood). That is this plume that offers nutrients to the bacteria the live inside the worm. The external tube that the worm is do from a tough, herbal substance dubbed chitin. Chitin is likewise the main component in the exoskeletons the crabs, lobsters, and shrimp. Back the worms have no eyes, they can sense movement and vibrations and also will retreat right into their protective tubes once threatened.


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nest of gigantic tube worms (NOAA public Domain Image)

Giant tube worms reproduce by releasing their eggs into the water to be fertilized. After ~ hatching, the young larvae swim down and attach themselves to rocks. Together the larvae construct into small worms, they temporarily construct a primitive mouth and also gut v which the symbiotic bacteria enter. As the worm grow older, the mouth and gut disappear, trapping the bacteria inside.

Giant tube worms have been found throughout the Pacific s where deep sea hydrothermal vents have actually been discovered. The average depth of this vents is 5,000 feet (1,500 meters). Entire areas of shrimps and also crabs have actually been found living roughly these giants. That is believed that these invertebrates feed by nibbling turn off bits the the pipe worms" red plumes. As amazing as this vent ecosystems are, lock are also extremely fragile. Together the Earth"s late shifts as result of geothermal activity, the it is provided of chemicals v the vents can be cut off. Once this happens, all of the significant creatures that rely on these chemicals will certainly wither and also die. Scientists have returned come once thriving vent sites just to discover them completely cold and also dead. But the cycle starts again when brand-new hydrothermal vents start to grow somewhere else on the deep sea floor.

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Deep Sea creature Database

Atlantic Hagfish Coelacanth Chambered Nautilus Deep Sea Anglerfish Deep Sea Dragonfish Fangtooth Firefly Squid huge Isopod large Squid huge Tube Worm Gulper Eel Hatchetfish Lanternfish Oarfish Sixgill Shark Snipe Eel Sperm Whale Vampire octopus Viperfish Bioluminescence layers of the ocean Hydrothermal Vents Credits and References

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