Pompeii worms live in the hot water around hydrothermal vents in the Pacific Ocean and can tolerate a water temperature up to 80 degrees centigrade. They have a thick coating of symbiotic bacteria which may help to insulate them against this heat.
Scientific name: Alvinella pompejana
The planet's extremes confound the nature of life on earth.
Pompeii worms have been found to thrive at temperatures of up to 80°C around hydrothermal vents, making them the most heat-tolerant complex animal known to science after the tardigrades (or water bears), which are able to survive temperatures over 150°C. In this sequence, a specialised deep sea submersible allowed the audience a privileged view of the inaccessible deep ocean. Stunning images from this relatively unexplored world told the story of the scientific findings made in recent years that have changed the fundamental rules about the nature of life on Earth. (Courtesy of WHOI.)
The following habitats are found across the Pompeii worm distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
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Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
The Pompeii worm, Alvinella pompejana, is a species of deep-sea polychaete worm (commonly referred to as "bristle worms"). It is an extremophile found only at hydrothermal vents in the Pacific Ocean, discovered in the early 1980s off the Galápagos Islands by French marine biologists.
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