Tubeworms are unusual but many scientists think they are also quite beautiful. Tubeworms, (Rifta pachyptila) look like giant lipstick tubes. They can be found near hydrothermal vents, more than a mile deep on the Pacific Ocean floor. These long, lean worms can grow up to 8 feet long. Like the bottom half of a tube of lipstick, the worms’ tube is tough. This is where the worm makes its home. The tube is white, and made of the toughest natural material in the ocean called chitin (pronounced “kite-in”).
Besides the bright tip and the white tub, you won’t find much else on a tubeworm. They have no eyes, mouth, or stomach. According to the University of Delaware Graduate College of Marine Studies, “tubeworm survival depends on a symbiotic relationship with the billions of bacteria that live inside of them. These bacteria convert the chemicals that shoot out of the hydrothermal vents into food for the worm. This chemical- based food-making process is referred to as chemosynthesis.”
ATTENTION: GET PARASITE HELP NOW! At All About Worms we get a lot of questions about skin parasites, blood parasites, and intestinal parasites in humans. Because we can't diagnose you, we have put together this list of doctors and labs who understand and specialize in dealing with parasites in humans! That resource is HERE
While the tubeworm does not have a mouth in its mature stage, it does have a mouth and a stomach in its earliest stages. During this time, bacteria enters through the mouth and gut, so they have stores. As the worm grows, the mouth and gut disappear.
The University of Delaware states that “while the tubeworm depends on the bacteria that live in its body for energy and food, sometimes tubeworms provide food for other deep-sea dwellers. Fish and crabs may nibble off the tubeworm’s red plume.”
|No Paywall Here!
All About Worms is and always has been a free resource. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or make you give us your email address, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to pay our research authors, and to run and maintain the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep All About Worms free?