Domain Archaea

Kingdom Archaebacteria

This kingdom is made up of prokaryotes called archaea. Many archaea live in extreme environments. They differ from eubacteria in cell wall and cell membrane structure. Genetic similarities between archaea and eukaryotes suggest that archaea are more closely related to eukaryotes than to bacteria. Fewer than 100 living, described species exist.

Extreme Halophiles

Extreme halophiles inhabit environments of very high salinity, such as the Dead Sea and Great Salt Lake (salinity 15 to 20 percent). Many are aerobic.


Methanogens are anaerobic methane producers that inhabit soil, swamps, and the digestive tracts of ani-mals—particularly the tracts of grazing mammals such as cattle. Most use CO2 as a carbon source. Methanogens produce nearly 2 trillion kilograms (2 billion tons) of methane gas annually.


Thermoacidophiles inhabit hot, acidic areas, tolerate extreme heat, and require sulfur. Most are anaerobic.

This undersea hydrothermal vent is home to thermoacidophiles.

This undersea hydrothermal vent is home to thermoacidophiles.

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