Dragon Snail
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πŸ“½ by @squamiferum

This is a scaly-foot snail (commonly referred to as the sea pangolin) a gastropod that lives in one of the harshest environments on the planet – hydrothermal vents approximately 1.5 miles (2.6km) below the surface of the Indian Ocean.

They have somehow adapted to life where the temperature of the water would cook any other lifeform in minutes (750Β° – 400Β°C) and they’ve done it in an extraordinary way – their shell and parts of their body are shielded by iron.

More specifically iron sulfides, greigite and pyrite.

Pyrite is known as “fool’s gold” and greigite is magnetic, so you could hypothetically fish for these things with a mile and half of fishing line and an fridge magnet.

No other animal on earth can utilize iron this way.

These iron sulfides pour out of the vents, propelled by the super-heated water that infiltrates the magma chamber of these underwater geysers, and scientists theorize that the scaly-foot extracts iron from these vents and builds its armor via bacteria that live on the surface of the snail.

So what do they eat? Nothing.

They have another bacteria in their gut that produces all the nutrients needed for survival.

They also have huge hearts, which make up 4% of their body, the largest heart to body proportion of any animal on the planet.

The theory as to why they are so large is because they live so deep in the water that oxygen very low, so the cardiovascular system of the snail is very efficient in oxygenating these little iron lifeforms.

In this case, nature is metal.

Literally.

#natureismetal

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