Deep Sea Vent Mollusk

Mollusks have evolved to thrive in almost every habitat on Earth. Here is one of the most unusual mollusks that thrives in deep sea vents.

This remarkable mollusk species, Ifremaria nautilei, was found 660 feet deep (201 meters) in the Mariana Trough, an active volcanic region. It was discovered and brought to the surface by the submersible DSV Nautile. This species lives in the oxygen-poor waters of hydrothermal vents with few of the usual food sources. It has adapted to survive on the nutrition from endosymbiotic bacteria that reside inside its body cavity. The bacteria provide oxygen and create food for the mollusk from the vent’s sulfur emissions. And the mollusk provides a safe environment for the bacteria. See the complete record for this specimen in Arctos.

Paula E. Cushing, PhD

Senior Curator of Invertebrate Zoology

Andrew Doll, MS

Zoology Collections Manager

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