Giant Tube Worms
This image of giant tube worms in the Pacific Ocean was captured by NOAA photographers in a rift valley off the coast of the Galapagos Islands. The giant tube worm (Riftia pachyptila) is a species that lives over a mile deep, and up to several miles deep, on the floor of the Pacific Ocean near hydrothermal vents, also known as black smokers. This species can tolerate extremely high hydrogen sulfide levels and high temperatures. These large worms can reach a length of over 7 feet (2.4 meters) and their tubular bodies have a diameter of 1.6 inches (4 cm).