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Pacific Hydrothermal Vent by NocturnalSea Pacific Hydrothermal Vent by NocturnalSea
A sample of the diversity of life living around hydrothermal vents in the Pacific

Starting from the top and going down we have:

A forest of of Giant Tube Worms (Riftia pachyptila) bordered by a thicket of their smaller cousins, the Jericho Worms (Tevnia Jerichonana).

In the right top is an enlarged view of a Pompeii Worm (Alvinella pompejana), one of the most heat-tolerant multicellular animals. Pompeii worms, which live in thin-walled tubular dwellings along the sides of hydrothermal vents, can tolerate temperatures up to 176 degrees Fahrenheit. Although it is not entirely clear how the worms survive, it is believed that the white fleece of bacteria on their backs may provide some insulation from the heat.

To the left is a Pacific Grenadier (Coryphaenoides acrolepis) a common deep-sea fish often found hunting and scavenging near vents. To the right is an Eelpout (Thermarces cerberus), the top predator of the vent ecosystem.

Below the Jericho Worms is a field of Vent Mussels (Bathymodiolus thermophilus) interspersed with several giant, ivory-white Vesticomid Clams (Calyptogena magnifica)

At the bottom of the picture is a Blue Mat, a field of tiny tubular dwellings-- called lorica-- secreted by folliculinid ciliates (Folliculinopsis sp.). In the middle of the mat is a magnified view of several of these ciliates with their arm-like peristomal feeding lobes extended.

Crawling around the field of mussels and worms are several Vent Crabs (Bythograea thermydron) along with a Vent Octopus (Vulcanoctopus hydrothermalis), and a Yeti Crab (Kiwa hirsuta).

In the lower left corner are several Deep-Sea Stauromedusae (Lucernaria janetae). Stauromedusae are jellyfish that permanently attach themselves to a hard substrate using a short stalk.

Lastly on the bottom right is a Vent Dandelion (Thermopalia taraxaca), a colonial scavenger related to Portuguese Man-o-wars and other siphonophores.

Looking back on this piece, I realize I owe more than a little stylistic inspiration to this work by SpacerHunterZORG: [link]
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kitchenfrenzy Featured By Owner May 11, 2013
herofan135 Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is simply amazing! :wow:
Zippo4k Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2012
Tarturus Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Good work managing to portray some of the diversity of the hydrothermal vent ecosystem in a single picture. :thumbsup:
NocturnalSea Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Rodlox Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2012
you always do a great job at showing how ecosystems fit together - some of us've seen some of these species individually, but almost never in bunches...and naught ever as together as you have them. thank you.
NocturnalSea Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
thanks. And you're welcome.
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Submitted on
October 18, 2012
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