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Project S – The creation of the Rimicanoe

Rimicaris exoculata

Rimicaris exoculata, the eyeless vent shrimp is an iconic member of hydrothermal vent communities on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The shrimp is characterized by a lack of eyes, an enlarged carapace, chemoautotrophic symbionts that they farm in their gills, and, most curiously, large photoreceptors on the top of its carapace. A solution to the mysterious eyespots was first hypothesized by Cindy Lee Van Dover, who inferred that Rimicaris exoculata can “see” low-level light produced by hydrothermal vent effluent.

Iconic, novel, biologically fascinating; of all the adjectives I can think of to describe Rimicaris exoculata, the one that jumps immediately to mind is sort-of-canoe-shaped. In fact, it’s so sort-of-canoe-shaped that this hydrothermal vent shrimp needs to have a canoe made in its image.

Presenting the grand unveiling of Project S – the Rimicanoe (sensu strictissimo Rimicaris exocu-yacht-a)!

Project S revealed! The <i>Rimicanoe</i>

Project S revealed! The Rimicanoe!

Rimicanoe began as a scale model in cardboard and evolved into a stitch-and-glue plywood masterpiece of shear geekery.

The scale concept model

The incredibly unwieldy watercraft comes complete with enlarged carapace, segments, and eyespots:

For detecting hydrothermal vents

The vessel’s fantail is, well, an actual fantail:

signed by my awesome 5-person build team

Thanks to my build team: Kevin (and Elliot), William, David H., and Amy!

~Southern Fried Scientist

And Happy Birthday Cindy!


Deep-sea biologist, population/conservation geneticist, backyard farm advocate. The deep sea is Earth's last great wilderness.


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