Nine ROV dives into the expedition, the science team finally discovered the type of hydrothermal vent community they had been searching for. Clusters of tube worms, limpets, mussels, and anemones were seen to inhabit cracks in the lava bed where mineral-rich, geothermally-heated water 'vents' out. Two species of tube worms were found in abundance: the giant Riftia pachyptila and also the much smaller, never before observed in the Galápagos, Tevnia jerichonana. Brachyuran crabs, vent shrimp, and scale worms clung not only to the surrounding rock but also to the tube worms themselves in some cases. Extensive fields of dead and living clams surrounded the individual pockets of venting. Video courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Galapágos Rift Expedition 2011.


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