Black, Iron Sulphide secreting Scaly-footed Gastropod from the Kairei Vent Field (top),
Pale, non-Iron Sulphide secreting Scaly-footed Gastropod from the Solitaire Field (bottom).
Scale bar is 10 mm. Nakamura et al. (2012).
The Scaly Foot Gastopod is the only animal we know of that can plate itself with metal. Badass!
BUT they’ve found genetically identical scaly foot gastropods WITHOUT the metal. They both live in thermal vents deep in the ocean, which spew weird - and variable - chemicals. The metal shell is actually structurally weaker, so the metal shell may exist as a side effect of needing to excrete heavy metals out of the snail’s body that accrue when it lives near vents that spew heavy metals.
So cool!! via Sciency Thoughts