The crevices at 708 meters (2323 feet) of a hydrothermal vent site are occupied by thriving aggregations of cutthroat (synaphobranchid) eels. These eels, which have now been identified as Dysommina rugosa, are known from trawl samples in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, but have never before been studied in their natural habitat. The only common metazoan (multicellular) animals occupying these low-temperature hydrothermal vents, preliminary work indicates that they use the vent only as a place to live. They seem to feed not on chemosynthetic bacteria, but on crustaceans that pass by Nafanua’s summit in the currents. Image courtesy of UCSD/Scripps, Univ. of Oregon, WHOI, NOAA-HURL, NOAA-OE.

 

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