Tube Worm: 15 Facts You Won’t Believe

Read these tube worm facts about this arthropod that lives in symbiosis with bacteria.

Giant tube worms (Riftia pachyptila) are an aquatic creature found living in hydrothermal vents that are present deep inside the Pacific Ocean.

These worms are found in the oceans and are one of the longest Annelids, and are known for their ability to consume bacteria for energy. The main source of food for energy is bacteria, and this animal is known to have a symbiotic relationship with bacteria as the bacteria provides it with energy and it helps bacteria to oxidize itself with gases this worm releases.

With a long white structure and red-colored plume, the worm is colorless and lacks a mouth, eyes, and stomach. These are animals that do not depend on the sun for energy and are barely seen on the water surface. Riftia pachyptila is known to lay eggs and sperms in the water, and they fertilize and develop into larvae in the water itself. To know more about this long worm that has a lifespan of about 300 years, go through this article.

If you liked reading about these giant tube worm facts, you could also check out these giant African millipede facts and flatworm facts.

Tube Worm

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Bacteria and plumes

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

0.10-1.55 oz (2.75-44.35 g)

How long are they?

Up to 8 ft (2.5 m)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

White and red

Skin Type

Smooth and slimy

What are their main threats?

Large mussels, clams, crabs, shrimps, and oil spills

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Pelagic and intertidal zones


Hydrothermal vents in the Pacific Ocean





Scientific Name

Riftia pachyptila





Tube Worm Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a tube worm?

The giant tube worm (Riftia pachyptila) is an aquatic invertebrate that is found living in the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean. Belonging to the family of Siboglinidae, these worms are one of the largest worm species in the world and are known for their ability to prey on aquatic bacteria and plumes.

What class of animal does a tube worm belong to?

Giant tube worms (Riftia pachyptil) belong to the Polychaeta class and are invertebrates. These invertebrates found in the deep sea belong to the Annelida phylum and are one of the largest worm species that belong to the Siboglinidae family.

How many tube worms are there in the world?

The exact number of living individuals in the world is not known, but this species of worms are thriving in numbers but at the same time are becoming increasingly vulnerable. These giant tube worms (Riftia pachyptila) are currently not extinct but can become endangered very soon as they have a lot of predators in the deep sea.

Where does a tube worm live?

Giant tube worms (Riftia pachyptila) are aquatic animals and are known to live in the ocean and deep waters. These tube worms are known to live in the deep sea, in the hydrothermal vents which have been discovered in the Pacific Ocean.

What is a tube worm's habitat?

Giant tube worms (Riftia pachyptila) is known to live in a hydrothermal vent that is present deep in the Pacific Ocean. Tube worms survive in a hydrothermal vent by a process known as chemosynthesis, in which they help the bacteria with chemicals and get energy in return. The giant tube worm is known to depend on bacteria and plumes for energy and food.

Who do tube worms live with?

These aquatic creatures are generally seen alone in deep water but often have shrimps and crabs living near them in deep waters.

How long does a tube worm live?

The Riftia pachyptila is one of the longest creatures of the Annelida phylum and can grow as long as 8 ft (2.5 m). Riftia pachyptila is known to live for about 300 years or more.

How do they reproduce?

These giant worms are known to reproduce by releasing eggs and sperms in the water, which get fertilized in the water. After the eggs hatch, the young larvae attach themselves to rocks by swimming down in the ocean. As the larva turns into worms, it develops a temporary primitive mouth and gut for the bacteria (symbiotic bacteria) to enter.

What is their conservation status?

The current conservation status of the Riftia pachyptila is 'Least Concern,' but this species is increasingly growing to be vulnerable. These creatures are known to live differently from natural biology as they do not depend on the sunlight for energy but rather get energy from bacteria.

Tube Worm Fun Facts

Tubeworms (Riftia pachyptila) are unique animals found in oceans as they are known to provide chemicals to the bacteria present inside them in order to oxidize them and produce energy. The plume provides the bacteria which is living inside the tube worm with essential nutrients.

What do tube worms look like?

The bacteria living inside the tube worm is known to get its nutrition from the plume.

This worm looks like a long tube which is of white color with a red plume. This worm is known to be colorless inside the long white tube. These creatures do not have mouths, eyes, and stomachs.

How cute are they?

These bacteria-eating giant tube worms (Riftia pachyptila) are not at all cute but rather gross in appearance and have a slimy body which makes them pretty strange animals.

How do they communicate?

While the communication medium of these creatures is not known in detail or discovered yet, tube worms are known to communicate with the help of the hydrothermal vent and chemical reactions.

How big is a tube worm?

Facts about the giant tube worm (Riftia pachyptila) include that its average weight is 0.10-1.55 oz (2.75 to 44.35 g) and has a length of up to 8 ft (2.5 m). Giant tubeworms (Riftia pachyptila) are one of the largest worm species as they can be as long as 8 ft (2.5 m) and are known to be about ten times longer than its predators, the large carbs.

How fast can tube worms move?

The exact moving speed of tube worms is not specified, but these creatures are known to be pretty slow underwater, inside the hydrothermal vents.

How much does a tube worm weigh?

The giant tube worm (Riftia pachyptila) weight range is from 0.10-1.55 oz (2.75 to 44.35 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

These creatures, that are known to live in hydrothermal vents, do not have any particular names for the male and female of the species, but are generally referred to as giant tube worms.

What would you call a baby tube worm?

There is no specific name for a baby tube worm; they are called young or juvenile tube worms.

What do they eat?

The giant tube worm (Riftia pachyptila) is known to depend on sea creatures like plumes and bacteria for food. The tube worm is also known to consume bacteria as it helps them in providing energy. The tube worm includes large crabs, shrimps, and mussels as predators.

Are they harmful?

Yes, the tube worm (Riftia pachyptila) is a very dangerous creature as it releases gases and chemicals like sulfur and carbon dioxide near it. This is one of the ways that it protects itself from its predators, and not many animals are seen near it.

Would they make a good pet?

No, the tube worm does not make a good pet as it is known to release harmful chemicals like carbon dioxide and sulfur, so it is advised not to go near these creatures.

Did you know...

Tube worms keep their tails under the water surface in hydrothermal vents. Tube worms are known to have a primitive gut and mouth through which it consumes bacteria. Tube worms have no eyes, stomach, or mouth. Giant tube worms that live in hydrothermal vents do not depend on sunlight for energy, making them different in natural biology.

Different types of tube worm

The horse shoe worm, beard worm, and calcareous tube worm are some of the different types of tube worms around.

The tube worm's symbiosis

Tube worms (Riftia pachyptila), which are known to live in vents, are known to have a symbiotic relationship with bacteria; when it consumes bacteria, it releases gases like oxides and sulfide, which helps the bacteria oxidize and, in turn, provides the tube worm with energy. This process is known as chemosynthesis.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Irukandji jellyfish facts, or cockle facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Tube worm coloring pages.



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