vent larvae collage

Photographic Identification Guide to Larvae at Hydrothermal Vents in the Eastern Pacific

Home Introduction & Methods Terminology Literature Cited

Gastropods Sorted By Size or Species
Polychaetes, Bivalves, Crustacea and Miscellaneous Species Sorted Alphabetically

The purpose of this website is to assist researchers in the identification of larvae of benthic invertebrates at hydrothermal vents. Our work is based on plankton sampling at the East Pacific Rise 9-10°N vent field from 1991-present. In this first version of the guide, we have included frequency data from large-volume plankton pump samples taken between 1998 and 2004 and time-series sediment trap samples from 2004-2005. Trap frequency data are not available for polychaetes, as they are generally poorly preserved in the DMSO solution used in the traps. Later we plan to include data through fall 2007, including both pump and trap samples.

Throughout this guide, clicking on images will open a higher resolution version in a separate pop-up window. If you have blocked pop-up windows in your browser, you may have to disable blocking for this site to view these images. Clicking on species names will open an information page on that species, also in a separate window or tab. On pages for which the genus or species are known, we have provided a link to ChEssBase and to OBIS which have information on the habitat and distribution of the adults and links to genetic information. Except where otherwise stated, light microscope pictures were taken by Stace Beaulieu and SEM's by Susan Mills and Diane Adams.

We are indebted to the taxonomists who described these species, whose papers appear in the Literature Cited section of this website. In the case of the gastropods, they often included SEM's of the larval shells, which greatly assisted us in assembling this guide. In addition we would like to thank Stacy Kim, Pat McMillan, Anne Beaudreau, Andrew Sweetman and Diane Adams for substantial help in learning how to distinguish larval gastropods.

Although our own samples are limited to the 9-10°N EPR site, we would like to expand this guide by adding additional species, including those from other areas. Please get in touch with us if you have photos you would like to have included on this website.

This guide is also available as a pdf file (click for high resolution (30MB) or low resolution (3MB))

Please contact Susan Mills or Stace Beaulieu with constructive comments or to report problems with the website. This website may be cited as:

Mills, S. W., Beaulieu, S. E. and Mullineaux, L.S. 2007. Photographic identification guide to larvae at hydrothermal vents in the eastern Pacific. Published at:

This research was supported by the following grants:

NSF logo
OCE - 9619605 to L. Mullineaux, D. Manahan and C. Young
OCE - 9712233 to L. Mullineaux, C. Fisher and C. Peterson
OCE - 0424593 to L. Mullineaux, A. Thurnherr, J. Ledwell, D. McGillicuddy and W. Lavelle
ATM - 0428122 to H. Singh, T. Shank, L. Mullineaux, M. Neubert and others
WHOI logo
Deep Ocean Exploration Institute grant to L. Mullineaux and S. Beaulieu
ChEss logo
Grant from the ChEss project of the Census of Marine Life to L. Mullineaux, S. Beaulieu and S. Mills

This site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License 

Site last updated 14 May 2010