rachel caauwe

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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 

Spirula spirula


AKA ram’s horn squid. Probably my favorite cephalopod. A disappointing number of pictures available to reference, considering it has an important evolutionary relic - an internal spiral shell. It also has a yellowish-green photophore at the end of its mantle and a vertical-oriented swimming style. The juveniles are able to withdraw their head and arms entirely into their mantle when startled. The adult is not much bigger than your thumb, and its shell is found on beaches all over the world.