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.[1] The International Institute of Species Exploration named Thiolava veneris one of its 2018 Top 10 New Species.[2] The mats host a wide variety of other sea life.[3]

Scientific classification

Physical CharacteristicsEdit

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.[3] 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.[1][3] Thiolava lacks an enzyme that would prohibit deposition of elemental sulfur within the cytoplasm, thus allowing for mineral deposition within the cytoplasmic space.[3]


  1. ^ a b Danovaro, Roberto; Canals, Miquel; Tangherlini, Michael; Dell’Anno, Antonio; Gambi, Cristina; Lastras, Galderic; Amblas, David; Sanchez-Vidal, Anna; Frigola, Jaime; Calafat, Antoni M.; Pedrosa-Pàmies, Rut; Rivera, Jesus; Rayo, Xavier; Corinaldesi, Cinzia (24 April 2017). "A submarine volcanic eruption leads to a novel microbial habitat". Nature Ecology & Evolution. 1 (6): 0144. doi:10.1038/s41559-017-0144. PMID 28812643.
  2. ^ Strickland, Ashley (23 May 2018). "Meet the top 10 new species of 2018". CNN. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d Frazer, Jennifer (5 May 2017). "Bacterial hair on undersea volcano unlike any seen before". Scientific American. Retrieved 24 May 2018.