Tube Worms

The Tube Worm               

     My invertebrate animal is the tube worm an interesting animal.  The scientific name is Riftia pachyptila.  It belongs to the following Kingdom:  Animalia Phylum:  Annelida Class:  Polychaeta Order:  Pogonophora Family:  Siboglinidae Genus:  Riftia Species:  Riftia pachyptila.          

         The tube worm looks like a long white tube with an odd bright red nail called a plume or a giant paintbrush.  Inside the tube the body of the worm is colorless.  The tube worm can grow up to nine feet long and can live 170 to 250 years.  The tube worm’s red plume is food for fish, crabs, and other sea creatures.  The tube worms white tubular home is made of a material called chitin.  In the early stages the tube worm has a mouth and a gut and no eyes. As the tube worm grows its gut and mouth somehow vanish.         

        They live in the Pacific Ocean from Baja to Galapagos Islands over a mile deep on the ocean floor.  They live near geysers called hydrothermal vents that are powered by volcanic heat. Their survival depends on billions of bacteria that live inside of them.  The bacteria changes into chemicals that launch out of the vents for food for the tube worms.  This process is called chemosynthesis.   The vents are called “black smokers” because of the black material they eject. The stuff they spit out can be as hot as 752 degrees.  The tube worm can tolerate extremely high temperatures and high sulfur levels. They live on a gas called H2S (hydrogen sulfide).         

           The tube worms reproduce by the females releasing eggs.  The slowly float upward where they are fertilized by the male sperm bundle.  The larval worms then grow to form new tube worm communities.         

         My teacher Mr. Koppelman has two small tube worms. I think the tube worm is a cool animal. I’ve really learned a lot about the tube worm with this report.  I hope you like reading it.