Crushing pressure and zero sunlight aren’t enough of a challenge for giant tube worms. They’ve adapted to thrive at the edge of hydrothermal vents, which spew superheated water saturated with toxic chemicals. In spite of the near boiling temperature of the water, these animals thrive in the complete absence of light. They feed on tiny bacteria that get their energy directly from the chemicals in the water through a process known as chemosynthesis. This colony was photographed 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) below the ocean’s surface on the East Pacific Rise near the Galápagos Islands.
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