iron snail

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Scaly -footed Gastropods (Chrysomallon squamiferum)

is a species of deep-sea hydrothermal vent snail, a marine gastropod mollusc in the family Peltospiridae.This vent endemic gastropod is known only from deep-sea hydrothermal vents in the Indian Ocean, where it has been found at depths of about 2,400 m (1.5 mi).

The shell is of a unique construction with three layers; the outer layer consists of iron sulphides, the middle layer is equivalent to the organic periostracum found in other gastropods, and the innermost layer is made of aragonite. The foot is also unusual, being armored with iron-mineralised sclerites. The snail’s tissues house a symbiotic gammaproteobacteria from which it appears to obtain its nourishment…

(read more: Wikipedia)

images: photos by Chong Chen and illustration by Rachel Caauwe