Magazine article Oceanus

Alvin's Animals: SCIENTISTS IN THE SUB HAVE DISCOVERED HUNDREDS OF PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN SPECIES

Magazine article Oceanus

Alvin's Animals: SCIENTISTS IN THE SUB HAVE DISCOVERED HUNDREDS OF PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN SPECIES

Article excerpt

Three species named for Alvin pilots

In 1979, pilot Dudley Foster used a "slurp gun" suction sampler to capture a fragile, transparent jelly-animal at midwater depths of about 3,280 feet: Bathocyroe losteri.

In 1988, pilot Ralph Hollis captured a purple fish seen near hydrothermal vents, using a net held in Alvin's manipulator arm: Bythites hollisi

In 2005, pilot Bruce Strickrott captured an eel-like hagfish with a suction sampler: Eptatretus strickrotti.

Two (of many) species named for Alvin itself

The "Pompeii worm" (Alvinella pompejana) is a furry worm with red tentacles that can withstand the hottest temperatures of any animal, even short periods at 130°F (55°C).

Furry vent snails (Alvinoconcha hessian) have hair-like projections all over their shells.

Close encounters with Alvin

A big red octopus grabbed onto Alvin's arm at 7,500 feet deep and was discovered to be a new species (Benthoctopus sp.)

In 1967, a swordfish attacked Alvin at 2,000 feet down, became stuck in the sub's skin, and was brought to the surface with Alvin (and later eaten for dinner).

Six iconic animals from Alvins visits to seafloor vents

Scientists were astonished to see huge clams living at a depth where they thought no large life could exist. The giant white vent clams (Calyptogena magnifica), reaching up to a foot long, were first seen in 1977 at the Galápagos Rift in the Pacific Ocean.

Alvin also found dense groves of six-foot-long red-and-white tubeworms (Riftia pachyptila) at Galápagos Rift vents, growing near vent fluid laden with toxic chemicals. …

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