Sirsoe methanicola

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Sirsoe methanicola
Hesiocaeca methanicola noaa.jpg
S. methanicola
Ice worm closeupNASA.jpg
Close up of the head of S. methanicola
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Annelida
Class: Polychaeta
Order: Phyllodocida
Family: Hesionidae
Genus: Sirsoe
S. methanicola
Binomial name
Sirsoe methanicola
Desbruyères & Toulmond, 1998
  • Hesiocaeca methanicola Desbruyères & Toulmond, 1998

Sirsoe methanicola is a species of polychaete worm that inhabits methane clathrate deposits in the ocean floor. The worms colonize the methane ice and appear to survive by gleaning bacteria, which in turn metabolize the clathrate.

In 1997, Charles Fisher, professor of biology at Pennsylvania State University, discovered the worm living on mounds of methane ice at a depth of half a mile (~800 m) on the ocean floor in the Gulf of Mexico.[2] Fisher reported that experiments with live specimens showed that mature worms could survive in an anoxic environment for up to 96 hours. The experiments also showed that the larvae were dispersed by currents, and died after 20 days if they did not find a place to feed.


  1. ^ "Sirsoe methanicola". Species. GBIF. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  2. ^ C. R. Fisher; I.'R. MacDonald; R. Sassen; C. M. Young; S. A. Macko; S. Hourdez; R. S. Carney; S. Joye; E. McMullin (2000). "Methane ice worms: Hesiocaeca methanicola colonizing fossil fuel reserves" (PDF). Naturwissenschaften. 87 (4): 184–187. Bibcode:2000NW.....87..184F. doi:10.1007/s001140050700. PMID 10840806. S2CID 24068068. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-02-20.

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