Silly String Monster Spotted In Indian Ocean
Scientists from the Schmidt Ocean Institute have discovered an unusual organism in the eastern Indian Ocean, off the remote western coast of Australian. The researchers took video of the Apolemia – a type of siphonophore in the deep-sea environment known as the Ningaloo Canyons.
“Check out this beautiful ‘giant’ siphonophore Apolemia recorded on #NingalooCanyons expedition. It seems likely that this specimen is the largest ever recorded,” SCI wrote in a Twitter post.
Check out this beautiful *giant* siphonophore Apolemia recorded on #NingalooCanyons expedition. It seems likely that this specimen is the largest ever recorded, and in strange UFO-like feeding posture. Thanks @Caseywdunn for info @wamuseum @GeoscienceAus @CurtinUni @Scripps_Ocean pic.twitter.com/QirkIWDu6S
— Schmidt Ocean (@SchmidtOcean) April 6, 2020
According to a report on Newsweek.com, it resembles a long piece of string. Siphonophores is a group of creatures related to jellyfish and corals. It may look like one organism, but they are actually made up of many thousands of individual, specialized clones that come together to form a single entity.
The Newsweek story goes on to say that siphonophores lie in wait for unfortunate animals to come in contact with the stinging cells found on some of the specialized clones.
“There are about a dozen different jobs a clone can do in the colony, and each clone is specialized to a particular task,” Rebecca Helm, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina Asheville who saw the SCI video, wrote in a Twitter thread.
She goes on to say that she has never seen one this massive and “the colony is exhibiting a stunning behavior: it’s hunting.”
“While it is difficult to determine how old a siphonophore colony is,” Helm suggests “that the animal in the video could be tens or possibly hundreds of years old. Everything in the deep sea grows incredibly slowly. It’s only a few degrees above freezing, life takes time to grow,” she said.
“This is one of the largest and most stunning and pristine siphonophores that I’ve ever seen.”