Deep sea tube worms

Deep sea tube worms

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This image is part of the feature Animal Record Breakers

Credit: DR KEN MACDONALD/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Deep sea tube worms. Giant tube worms on an underwater pillar of cooled lava. The classification of these strange worms, which lack a mouth, gut or anus, is controversial. They are currently thought to belong to the annelids, the group that contains the common earthworm. The distinctive white tube is made of tough chitin. Tube worms absorb some of their food directly from the water. Most of their nutrition comes from symbiotic bacteria that oxidise compounds of sulphur and use the energy to make organic molecules. Photographed on the northern East Pacific Rise, part of the volcanically active mid- ocean ridge system, at a depth of 2600 metres.

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Keywords: animal, annelid worm, annelida, annelids, chemosynthesis, chemosynthetic, deep sea, east pacific rise, ecosystem, epr, invertebrate, invertebrates, lava, marine, mid-ocean ridge, nature, ocean, pillar, pogonophora, pogonophoran, siboglinidae, tube worms, tubeworm, tubeworms, underwater, wildlife, zoology

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