Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Bathymodiolus thermophilus

Bathymodiolus thermophilus is a large (up to 20 cm/8 in), deep water mussel. It lives on the sea bed, often in great numbers, close to hydrothermal vents where hot, sulphur-rich water wells up through the floor of the Pacific Ocean.

The gills contain sulphur-oxidizing chemoautotrophic bacteria. The mussel absorbs nutrients synthesized by these bacteria and is not reliant on photosynthetically produced organic matter. However it also feeds by extracting suspended food particles from the surrounding water through its gills. Mostly these are the bacteria that live around the vent, often forming a dense mat.

More about this species: Encyclopedia of Life

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