Thiolava, represented by its sole species Thiolava veneris (meaning Venus's hair), is a genus of bacteria discovered growing in stringlike mats after an eruption of the submarine volcano Tagoro near the Canary Islands. The International Institute of Species Exploration named Thiolava veneris one of its 2018 Top 10 New Species. The mats host a wide variety of other sea life.
T. veneris was found growing in laterally extensive mats in an area recently obliterated by underwater volcanism. The bacteria were discovered growing at about 130 m water depth, near the summit of the submarine volcano Tagoro. The mats of white, hair-like filaments formed by this bacterium cover an area of approximately 2,000 m2 around the newly formed volcanic cone. Each bacteria is 3-6 μm, and form white trichomes, or chains consisting of three helical strands surrounded by a protective sheath. The sheaths are 36 to 90 μm wide and up to 3 cm long.
Unusually, T. veneris can grow heterotrophically or chemolithotrophically, utilizing sulfur and nitrogen supplied by the volcano. Thiolava lacks an enzyme that would prohibit deposition of elemental sulfur within the cytoplasm, thus allowing for mineral deposition within the cytoplasmic space.
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