Arthropoda

Rimicaris exoculata

Rimicaris exoculata (Fig.10), is a type of shrimp, distributed around vent sites of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge; and may reach a total length of 55mm (Desbruyères et al. 2006).

Rimicaris exoculata, Photo courtesy of Emory Kristof, National Geographic Magazine, http://deepseacenter.rutgers.edu/photos.asp?p=22

Figure 10. Rimicaris exoculata in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Emory Kristof

These shrimps are able to detect vent plumes by thermal detectors, instead of using ‘normal eyes’, which are able to pick up radiation emerging from the vent plume (Van Dover 2000).

R. exoculata forms dense swarms around sulphur-chimney walls of Mid-Atlantic Ridge vents, with densities up to 2,500 individual shrimps per m² (Desbruyères et al. 2006). R. exoculata is a primary consumer and may gain energy by ingesting sulphide particles from the vent plume, or by grazing ‘free-living bacteria’ (Desbruyères et al. 2006; Gage & Tyler 1991; Van Dover 2000).

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