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Under Armour: the amazing new scaly-foot snail
Harriet wood, Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales
The spectacular marine snail called the ‘scaly-foot gastropod’ Chrysomallon squamiferum Chen, Linse, Copley & Rogers, 2015. It comes from depths of 2785m, living on the edge of hydrothermal vents and black smokers that reach temperatures of 300-400°C.
The ‘foot’ of this snail displayed hundreds of hardened tags, almost like an armour. These tags are called sclerites; fleshy in the centre and hard on the exterior due to a layer of conchiolin (a protein secreted as a part of shell formation) covered by a layer of iron sulphide that gives it a black metallic appearance
What is completely unique about this creature is that iron sulphide is also found in the snails’ shell, so this was the first discovery of an animal with iron sulphide in its skeleton. Read more..