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)!
Rimicanoe began as a scale model in cardboard and evolved into a stitch-and-glue plywood masterpiece of shear geekery.
The incredibly unwieldy watercraft comes complete with enlarged carapace, segments, and eyespots:
The vessel’s fantail is, well, an actual fantail:
Thanks to my build team: Kevin (and Elliot), William, David H., and Amy!
~Southern Fried Scientist
And Happy Birthday Cindy!