The large tube worm (Riftia pachyptila) that the phylum Annelida is a marine invertebrate living over one mile deep on the ocean floor. The gigantic tube worm is usually discovered living ~ above sea floor near volcanic vents known as hydrothermal vents. The giant tube worm can prosper to around 2.5 meter (8 ft.), with a tubular diameter of about 4 centimeter (1.6 inches). The huge tube worm is a mouthless and gutless creature, which stays in a symbiotic relationship with (chemosynthetic) sulfur-oxidizing bacteria, living within its trophosome. Before its discovery, in 1977, life develops in this inhospitable environment were not thought to exist.

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Body structure

The giant tube worm’s body is composed of a huge tubular framework attached come the volcano substrate, i beg your pardon can grow up come 2.5 meter (8 ft.) in length and 4 cm (1.6 inches) across, with a vascularized red organ on one end called the “plume,” and also a dedicated organ within its body known as the trophosome. The red plume, which is made of hemoglobins, is supplied to administer oxygen from the neighboring water come the bacteria, and the trophosome is occupied by symbiotic bacteria. The tube worm lacks a mouth, gut or anus; therefore, it have to rely ~ above its symbiotic bacteria to acquire nourishment. This bacteria convert the gases right into organic compounds by the procedure of chemosynthesis.


The giant tube worm thrives near hydrothermal vents, where superheated magma and also lava seep out at temperatures higher than 360 ° C (680 ° F) from the Earth’s crust. Once the warm magma comes in contact with the cold s water (4 ° C), numerous substances, including hydrogen sulfide, methane and dissolved lessened metals get precipitated into the hydrothermal vent habitat. The hydrothermal vent is host to the huge tube worm, the sulfur-oxidizing thermophyllic bacteria, i m sorry is the major producer in the food chain in this habitat and also a number of secondary and tertiary consumers, including huge clams, crabs, shrimp and fish.

Symbiotic relationship

In order come live, the gigantic tube worm relies on chemosynthesis, i beg your pardon is another type of power production, other than photosynthesis. The giant tube worm forms a symbiotic relationship with thermophyllic sulfur-oxidizing bacteria. This bacteria live in the tube worm’s trophosome. The gigantic tube worm absorbs hydrogen sulfide, with its plume, indigenous the surroundings and supplies it come the bacteria, i beg your pardon oxidizes the hydrogen sulfide and also uses the energy released in the reaction to create the necessary compounds required for both the tube worm and also the bacteria. The hemoglobins in the plume carry the oxygen within the tube worm because that respiration.


The large tube worm reproduce when the female, Riftia pachyptila, relax its eggs, which start floating upwards into the water environment. The pipe worm males set bundles of sperm free. The sperm drift in the direction of the eggs. After the eggs and sperm have joined, the larvae descend down and also attach us to the absent at the hydrothermal vents. The is hypothesize the the gigantic tube worm acquires its symbiotic bacteria while in larvae development. Unlike adults, the larvae and tiny juveniles of huge tube worm own a mouth and gut, suggesting that your symbiotic bacteria could have been acquired during the developmental larvae stage.

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Energy in ~ hydrothermal vents is obtained from the Earth’s crust, no the Sun. Biological life prospering at hydrothermal vents obtains their power from the chemical reactions of substances coming the end from the fissures in the Earth’s crust. Some bacteria living at these vents resemble the many primitive organisms recognized on the planet. It is assumed that life can have had an origin like the one in hydrothermal vents. According to, pipe worms room living in an setting of freezing cold 4 °C (39 °F) and also extreme warm temperatures 360 °C (680 °F) that seem come replicate the beginning of life.