More Creatures Discovered in the Deep Sea of the Antarctic

by Liz Langley

A sea snail feeding off a dead octopus’ beak is among the 30 new species found during an expedition to Antarctica‘s Amundsen Sea (map), according to the first study to shed light on the sea’s bottom dwellers.

The newfound sea snail, or limpet, is from a group that specializes in feeding on the decaying beaks of squid, octopi, and their relatives, according to study leader Katrin Linse of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

Linse and a team of marine biologists from BAS and other institutions hauled up 5,469 specimens belonging to 275 species from the depths of the little-explored sea of the Southern Ocean during a 2008 research cruise.

That year, scientists on the RSS James Clark Ross took advantage of the thin summer ice to get close to the edge of the ice shelf and bring up the thousands of specimens, including some newly discovered in Antarctic waters. At least 10 percent of all the species collected are new to science, and the figure is likely to rise, Linse said.

It’s taken a global team years to identify and categorize only a small fraction of the species, which are described October 1 in the journal Continental Shelf Research

(read more: National Geo)

photos by British Antarctic Survey - A young king crab, Neolithodes yaldwyni, Common Heart Urchin, Antarctic octopus, Pareledone turqueti, Bristle Cage Worm


Pompeii Worm (Alvinella pompejana)

…is a species of deep-sea polychaete worm only found at hydrothermal vents in the pacific ocean. As suggested by its common name this worm deals with large amounts of heat given off by the vents. To deal with this the worms have hairy backs for insulation. These hairs are not hairs but are actually colonies of bacteria which help the worm keep cool. In turn the worm has a glad that secretes a mucus which the bacteria feed on. Pompeii worms attach themselves to the vents and form a tube in which they reside, poking their feathery heads out once and awhile to feed and  breathe.



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Oooh, I’m stepping outside of the box:  the vertebrate museum blog is featuring a post about INVERTEBRATES!  I will admit I know next to nothing about invertebrates.  The same goes for plants/botany — I can memorize and retain the most obscure nomenclature for non-native mammals, but ask me to tell the difference between types of pine trees and I’m stumped (no pun intended).  That does not mean I don’t have a growing appreciation for these things, it just means I need to allocate more brain power to biology and less to memorizing Battlestar Galactica trivia.

Many of you guys are marine scientists, entomologists, biologists, zoologists — lend me your knowledge!  Let’s turn the tables a bit — click the photos for short descriptions, and then why don’t YOU tell ME something about any of these fantastic creatures?