Tube Worm Close-Up
This close-up image of a tube worm was taken by NOAA researchers from the Okeanos Explorer Program in the Gulf of Mexico. This is a large tube worm species that lives exclusively near cold seeps where hydrocarbons and other chemicals rise from vents in the ocean floor. The tube worms secrete a substance that hardens to form a rigid tube that provides protection as well as a place to live. The feathery plume at the top of the worm serves as gills for respiration. It also allows the animals to filter food from the surrounding seawater.
NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Gulf of Mexico 2012 Expedition
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