Scientists have been stumped by deep-sea worms which thrive in temperatures almost hot enough to boil water.
The Pompeii worm, Alvinella pompejana, lives around volcanic hydrothermal vents more than a mile-and-a-half deep on the floor of the Pacific ocean.
Fluid gushing from the metal-sulphide "chimneys" of the vents can reach 300C. The four-inch-long worms live in tubes attached to the chimney walls, where their bottom ends simmer at 80C while their tops chill out at a coolish 20C.
Nature journal reported yesterday that scientists think the worms may survive by being insulated by hairy-looking bacterial hitchhikers that coat their bodies.Reuse content