Bizarre New Deep Sea Creatures Found in Unexplored Hydrothermal Vents

Date: December 16, 2016

Source: Gizmodo

Author: George Dvorsky

Marine biologists have discovered six new animal species in undersea hot springs nearly two miles deep in the southwest Indian Ocean—an area already slated for future seafloor mining.

A new species of ragworm. (Image: David Shale)

Researchers from the University of Southampton and the Natural History Museum in London and Newcastle found the new creatures hiding around hydrothermal vents at a place called Longqi (meaning “dragon’s breath”), about 1,200 miles (2,000 km) southeast of Madagascar, and at a depth of 9,200 feet (2,800 m). This latest research, with its description of six new species, has been published in the journal Scientific Reports.


Using a deep-diving remotely operated vehicle (ROV), the researchers managed to explore an area about the size of a football field, and it was littered with more than a dozen mineral spires known as vent chimneys. Some of these spires rise more than two storeys above the seabed, and they attract deep-sea animals who are nourished by the hot fluids streaming out from the chimneys. In addition to hosting marine life, these spires are rich in copper and gold, hence the interest in deep sea mining.

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