Do volcano snails exist?

Chrysomallon squamiferum is known as the scaly-foot gastropod, scaly-foot snail, sea pangolin, or volcano snail. 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 1.5 – 1.7 miles. The average shell width in the Solitaire is 32 mm. The maximum width of the shell reaches 45.5 millimetres. Researchers collected 20 scaly-foot snails at around 2,900 meters below sea level from the Indian Ocean. Among their discoveries was a genetic clue about the snail’s metal armor. “We found that one gene, named MTP – metal tolerance protein – 9, showed a 27-fold increase in the population with iron sulphide mineralization compared to the one without,’ said Dr Sun Jin. “This protein was suggested to enhance tolerance of metal ions.”

The volcano snail thrives in the blazing hot hydrothermal vents of the Indian Ocean. The volcano snail’s astonishing iron shell helps it to survive the white-hot hydrothermal vents it calls home. The study of the volcanic snail and other creatures of hydrothermal vents is of great importance for scientific research. These extremist life forms can provide valuable information about biology and evolution in extreme environments, and also they may shed light on conditions on early Earth.

Similarly, volcano snails rely on bacteria that live in a specific organ that gives them the energy it requires. The bacteria rely on the snails for oxygen and the availability of sulfur-rich chemicals. The snails, in exchange, receive organic molecules for energy and maybe ingredients for the snail’s iron covering. The Scaly-foot snail is a concurrent hermaphrodite with no sex determination.

The volcano snail lives in deep-sea hydrothermal vents 1.5 to 1.8 miles below sea level. Volcano snails have under-developed digestive systems, which is why they do not need to eat. Furthermore, the volcano snail has a reduced radula, a specialized feeding structure typically found in snails, as it is no longer needed for scraping up food.

During the mating process, two snails will exchange sperm to fertilize each other’s eggs. After fertilization, the eggs are laid and undergo development. As a result, the volcanic snail was listed as an endangered species on the IUCN Red List in 2019.

How hot can a volcano snail survive?

The volcano snail survives in 750°F (409°C) water. It has an iron sulfide shell. The scaly-foot snail lives in underwater volcanic vents. Researchers call these “impossible living conditions”. The snail encases itself in iron. Volcano snails are also known as sea pangolins, scaly-foot gastropods and scaly-foot snails. They belong to the Peltospiridae family containing no subfamilies. The volcano snail’s shell helps it survive. Its scientific name is Chrysomallon squamiferum. It is also known as the scaly-foot gastropod, scaly-foot snail or sea pangolin. It lives in the world’s hottest underwater volcanic vents with an iron sulfide shell. Recently, its genome was sequenced. This armour-covered snail is an ongoing science experiment! Volcano snails grow to 0.5-4 cm. The shell reaches 3.2 cm across. It has the biggest heart to body size ratio. A human heart is 0.69% of body weight. The snail’s is 4%. Experts aren’t sure what it eats. The snail lives at 2,400-2,800 meter depths. Temperatures reach 750°F (398°C). It has a shell of iron sulfide and survives such heat.

What does a volcanic snail eat?

The volcanic marine snail Chrysomallon squamiferum is a species that has evolved to survive in underwater hydrothermal vents, one of the most inhospitable environments. Its adaptations make it of interest for marine biology.

Volcanic snails live at 2,400 to 2,800 meters depth in the Indian Ocean. This volcanic area reaches temperatures of 750°F, or 398°C. They have very hard iron shells that allow them to live in this habitat.

Volcanic snails have a symbiotic relationship with chemosynthetic bacteria in their esophageal glands. The bacteria provide their nutritional needs so they do not need to eat. Their shells are covered in iron scales called sclerites.

In 2019, the IUCN listed volcanic snails as endangered due to declining populations from deep-sea mining. Scientifically they are the family Neritilliidae, found only around Hawaii. Their features adapt them to their volcanic environment.

Snails eat decomposing material. Different types have different diets. Giant African land snails eat fruit, vegetables and calcium. Garden snails eat plants and fungi. Mediterranean green snails eat plants and carrion. Atlantic moon snails prey on other mollusks. Snails hunt when foraging at dawn, dusk or after rain.

Where do scaly-foot snails live?

Chrysomallon squamiferum is known only from deep-sea hydrothermal vents in the Indian Ocean. It was discovered in 2001, living on the bases of black smokers in the Kairei hydrothermal vent field. The species has also been found in the Solitaire field.

One distinguishing feature of the volcano snail is its unique adaptation of having its foot covered by chitinous sclerites arranged in overlapping scales, forming a protective armor against potential predators such as crabs. The scaly-foot snail has to live close to deep-sea hydrothermal vents starved of oxygen so it has got a big heart. Its heart is proportionally larger than that of any other species in the animal kingdom.

The Kairei hydrothermal vent field population of the scaly foot snail is smaller than at the Longqi underwater vent field. Kairei sits at 7,923 to 8,071 feet down in the Central Indian ridge. These vents are coming under attack from deep-sea mining companies.

Its outer shell is covered with a layer of iron, and its soft fleshy foot that protrudes from the under the shell is protected by hard mineralized scales made of iron sulphides. Scaly-foot gastropod is the only animal on Earth known to utilize iron in this way.

These snails live around hydrothermal vents over a mile below the ocean’s surface. In places with immense pressure, temperatures can reach 750 degrees Fahrenheit. Even though the deep-sea vents are known for their unique wildlife, nobody expected to see something so special as an iron-plated sea snail. Also known as the sea pangolin, the scaly-footed snail lives at the bottom of the Indian Ocean in four locations around volcanic vents.

It looks like an armoured knight crawling around on the deep-sea floor with an iron sulfide shell to protect it from the intense heat. And recently, for the first time in history, scientists sequenced its genome.

Scaly-foot snails are deep-sea gastropods that live in hydrothermal vent regions at depths of 2,400 to 2,900 meters. The only confirmed occurrences are on the Indian ridges. It is projected that its total distribution region is 0.27 km square.

The population of the sea pangolin is less numerous at the Kairei hydrothermal vent field. Deep-sea mining corporations are attacking these vents as they search for mineral deposits on the sea floor. As a result, the volcanic snail was listed as an endangered species.

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