Lamellibrachia luymesi

Lamellibrachia luymesi van der Land and Nørrevang, 1975

Languages: English


Comprehensive Description

Lamellibrachia luymesi are vestimentiferan tubeworms (family Siboglinidae). The vestimentiferans include several species of large, sessile (i.e., fixed in one place as adults) marine polychaete annelids found around hydrogen sulfide hydrothermal vents and seeps. The vestimentiferans around hydrocarbon seeps, such as L. luymesi, can exceed 2 meters in length and are related to the giant  Riftia pachyptila tubeworms found around hydrothermal vents. All these worms lack a digestive tract and rely on internal sulfide-oxidizing symbionts as a source of fixed carbon. Because these large worms are sessile, any dispersal among their very patchily distributed habitats must occur during the planktonic larval stage. The cold seep vestimentiferans Lamellibrachia luymesi and Seepiophila jonesi are apparently found only around hydrocarbon seep sites on the upper Louisiana Slope (<1000 m) in the northern Gulf of Mexico. (McMullin et al. 2010 and references therein)

Lamellibrachia luymesi individuals can live for over 250 years and form aggregations of hundreds to thousands of individuals at hydrocarbon seep sites in the Gulf of Mexico. These worms harbor internal chemoautotrophic sulfide-oxidizing (thiotrophic) symbionts. Like bathymodiolin mussels with internal methanotrophic symbionts, which are also often dominant species (by biomass) at these sites, these worms function as foundation species, supporting a high-biomass of endemic species along with numerous non-endemic species at an abundance that is significantly elevated relative to the surrounding seafloor. Cordes et al. (2005) found that tubeworm-associated communities sampled at seep sites on the upper Louisiana slope undergo predictable community succession and that these changes are due at least in part to reductions in hydrogen sulfide concentration caused by L. luymesi. (Cordes et al. 2005 and references therein)

One interesting non-chemoautotrophic seep species, the bivalve mollusk Acesta bullisi, has evolved specialized mechanisms to exploit a unique source of nutrition derived ultimately from chemosynthesis: the energy-rich eggs of giant tubeworms. This appears to be the only marine animal known to exhibit extreme morphological modifications to utilize egg predation as the major mode of nutrition. Virtually all mature individuals are found on female tubeworms rather than on males. (Järnegren et al. 2005 and references therein)

Cordes et al. (2009) provide a broad review of the Gulf of Mexico cold seeps, including the biology and ecology of L. luymesi.

Author(s): Shapiro, Leo
Rights holder(s): Shapiro, Leo


Bergquist, D. C., Urcuyo I. A., & Fisher C. R. (2002).  Establishment and persistence of seep vestimentiferan aggregations on the upper Louisiana slope of the Gulf of Mexico. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 241, 89-98. Abstract
Bergquist, D. C., Ward T., Cordes E. E., McNelis T., Howlett S., Kosoff R., et al. (2003).  Community structure of vestimentiferan-generated habitat islands from Gulf of Mexico cold seeps. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 289, 197-222. Abstract
Cordes, E. E., Arthur M. A., Shea K., Arvidson R. S., & Fisher C. R. (2005).  Modeling the mutualistic interactions between tubeworms and microbial consortia. PLoS Biology. 3, 497-506. Abstract
Cordes, E. E., Bergquist D. C., & Fisher C. R. (2009).  Macro-ecology of Gulf of Mexico cold seeps. Annual Review of Marine Science. 1, 143-168. Abstract
Cordes, E. E., Hourdez S., Predmore B. L., Redding M. L., & Fisher C. R. (2005).  Succession of hydrocarbon seep communities associated with the long-lived foundation species Lamellibrachia luymesi. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 305, 17-29.
Dattagupta, S., Arthur M. A., & Fisher C. R. (2008).  Modification of sediment geochemistry by the hydrocarbon seep tubeworm Lamellibrachia luymesi: A combined empirical and modeling approach. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 72, 2298-2315. Abstract
Girguis, P. R., Childress J. J., Freytag J. K., Klose K., & Stuber R. (2002).  Effects of metabolite uptake on proton-equivalent elimination by two species of deep-sea vestimentiferan tubeworm, Riftia pachyptila and Lamelllibrachia cf luymesi: proton elimination is a necessary adaptation to sulfide-oxidizing chemoautotrophic.... The Journal of Experimental Biology. 205, 3055-3066. Abstract
Jarnegren, J., Tobias C. R., Macko S. A., & Young C. M. (2005).  Egg predation fuels unique species associations at deep-sea hydrocarbon seeps. Biological Bulletin. 209, 87-93. Abstract
McMullin, E. R., Bergquist D. C., & Fisher C. R. (2000).  Metazoans in Extreme Environments: Adaptations of Hydrothermal Vent and Hydrocarbon Seep Fauna. Gravitational and Space Biology Bulletin. 13, 13-23. Abstract
McMullin, E. R., Hourdez S., Schaeffer S. W., & Fisher C. R. (2003).  Phylogeny and biogeography of deep sea vestimentiferan tubeworms and their bacterial symbionts. Symbiosis. 34, 1-41. Abstract
McMullin, E. R., Nelson K., Fisher C. R., & Schaeffer S. W. (2010).  Population structure of two deep sea tube worms, Lamellibrachia luymesi and Seepiophila jonesi, from the hydrocarbon seeps of the Gulf of Mexico. Deep-Sea Research I. 57, 1499-1509.
McMullin, E. R., Wood J., & Hamm S. (2004).  Twelve microsatellites for two deep sea polychaete tubeworm species, Lamellibrachia luymesi and Seepiophila jonesi, from the Gulf of Mexico. Molecular Ecology Notes. 4, 1-4. Abstract
Menon, J., Willsie J. K., Tauscher A., & Arp A. J. (2003).  Epidermal ultrastructure and implications for sulfide tolerance in six species of deep-sea polychaetes. Invertebrate Biology. 122, 334-346. Abstract