Paralvinella sulfincola

Paralvinella sulfincola is a species of worm in the Alvinellidae family. It lives among undersea hot-water vents, thriving in the hottest of waters, at temperatures that would kill most animals. This characteristic makes it an extremophile or hyperthermophile.

Having the unique ability to withstand extremely hot water from hydrothermal openings enables this stalk-like worm to feed on bacteria that other animals cannot reach. It is difficult to know exactly what temperatures this species can tolerate, as the boiling hot water that streams out of the vents quickly cools down in the chilly sea water.

This species belongs to the group of worms known as polychaetes, which construct tubes made of mucus, and are completely mobile. Its appearance resembles that of a tiny red palm tree with red gills.

Image Caption: Close-up of Palm worms, tubeworms, and limpets at Main Endeavour Field. Credit: NOAA/Wikipedia