The present study gives a formal name to the ‘scaly-foot gastropod’, Chrysomallon squamiferum n. gen., n. sp. with Longqi vent field as the type. As greigite is magnetic, the animal actually sticks to magnets. The three known populations of Chrysomallon squamiferum: Kairei, Longqi. Chrysomallon squamiferum Chen, Linse, Copley, & Rogers, For more multimedia, look at Chrysomallon squamiferum on Wikimedia Commons.
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The Museum has recently crysoamllon specimens of the enigmatic deep-sea vent snail, Chrysomallon squamiferumthe squamiiferum snail. In this post, Dr Chong Chen explains why this species is so extraordinary.
Second, it is the only known gastropod with a suit of scale armour. Thirdly, the scales as well as the shell are mineralised with iron sulfide. A specimen of Chrysomallon squamiferum photographed live Photo: This is what makes rotten eggs smell bad, and is toxic to most organisms.
Some bacteria, however, are able to use it to produce energy in a process known as chemosynthesis. The scaly-foot snail has also harnessed the power of chemosynthesis, housing endosymbiotic bacteria — bacteria living inside another creature to mutual benefit — in an enlarged part of its gut.
This produces the energy it needs. This is likely the reason it can grow to about 45mm in size, when most of its close relatives without endosymbionts are squaimferum 15mm or smaller.
Scaly-foot snails were first discovered inat the Kairei vent field in the Indian Ocean. As greigite is magnetic, the animal actually sticks to magnets.
The function of the scales is postulated to be either protection or detoxification but their true use remains a mystery. The three vent fields where Chrysomallon squamiferum is known from. Well, actually, despite numerous studies and publications on its strange biology this species has never been formally described and named, until now.
A recent paper by Dr Chong Chen Department of Zoology, University of Oxford and colleagues finally gave it the scientific name you see here — Chrysomallon squamiferum. The Museum received a set of five specimens as part of the description process, which will serve as key references for scientists who wish to study this extraordinary species in the future.
The sea snail with a shell made of armor!
It is really amazing! There is so many things in the world yet to discover. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Twitter account.
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Scaly-foot gastropod – Wikipedia
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Close-up of the scales, also showing the reduced operculum in middle.
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