Who says microbes can’t be adorable and charismatic? Just look at this cute little devil! This recently identified deep-sea thermoacidophile accounts for about 15% of the archaeal population around hydrothermal vents. That’s right, it can grow at temperatures between 55 and 75 degrees C and over a pH range of 3.3 to 5.8 and look precious doing it. These archaea may be playing a key role in iron and sulphur cycling at hydrothermal vents. The bug’s provisional name is Aciduliprofundum boonei, but its common name is ‘little devil blob.’ I personally think that Peter should dress up his new baby as this for Halloween…it’s WAY more interesting than the bat, cow, and pumpkin baby costumes that are available. And you can’t tell me this isn’t an excellent candidate for the plush microbe series…if they can make ebola, the black plague, and flesh-eating bacteria huggable, this one’s a no-brainer.
Citation: A.L. Reysenbach et al. (2006). A ubiquitous thermoacidophilic archaeon from deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Nature 442: 444-447.
Image credits: ‘Little devil blob’ image courtesy Terry Beveridge, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada (used with permission).
Giant Microbes image