Earth’s Hottest “Bods” May Belong to Worms

Perhaps the most heat-tolerant complex organisms on Earth, Pompeii worms (Alvinella pompejana) thrive along hydrothermal vents found deep in the Pacific Ocean.

Wrapped in fleecelike mantles of bacteria, the worms live in papery tubes, which they burrow into the sides of deep-sea geysers. The hydrothermal vents spew a toxic brew of boiling water, sulfur, and metal compounds.