FunNature & AnimalThey spot a strange creature with tentacles that looks...

They spot a strange creature with tentacles that looks like a flower

Scientists aboard the E/V Nautilus research vessel were shocked to see a strange creature in the depths. The animal looked like a flower with tentacles drifting in the deep waters of the ocean. Tentacles about 40 centimeters long extended from its six-foot stem .

The sighting took place on July 7 at a depth of 2,9994 meters, near a hitherto unexplored seamount, north of Johnston Atoll, an unincorporated US territory and national wildlife refuge in the Pacific Ocean, to the west. from Hawaii.

The first thing scientists thought was that they had come across a Solumbellula monocephalus , popularly known as a sea pen , and which is related to jellyfish, corals and hydras. However, they did not dare to call it a sea pen since it has only been seen in the Atlantic and Indian oceans. It is possible that we are facing a new species.

It was not the only sea pen that the research team came across. Moments after seeing the first, they saw another , but were unable to record it. Scientists have shared the video of the sighting on the YouTube channel of the Ocean Exploration Trust, a non-profit organization that conducts research in the deep sea. In it you can hear them marvel at the discovery. One of the expedition’s scientists said off-camera, “I’m freaking out,” as the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) scanned the seafloor and zoomed in on the strange creature. “I’m not on the edge of my seat or anything,” another scientist joked.

Steve Auscavitch, the expedition’s principal investigator and a Boston University deep-sea biologist, described the sighting as “fascinating.” “Every once in a while, we come across something we didn’t expect to see, and those are usually the most shocking observations,” he told Live Science . “We were nearing the end of our cruise and were at the bottom of the sea when we saw the two sea plumes. The one we caught on video was huge , possibly the same size or larger than our ROV, Hercules. When I saw this amazing plume video of the sea, I knew exactly what it could be.

To make sure he was right, Auscavitch asked the opinion of biologists on the coast, who confirmed his suspicions. It was indeed a sea pen, a relative of the coral.

The biologist assumes that taking into account its enormous size, the animal could be very old , although he does not venture to give a specific age. Sea corals can live for more than 10 years, reaching maturity at five or six.

“Prior to this, Solumbellula monocephalus had never been seen in the central Pacific and had never been collected,” Auscavitch said.

Interestingly, the discovery comes several months after Spanish scientists named two new genera of sea pens: Pseudumbellula and Solumbellula , the latter of which would include the recently sighted creature. Those findings were published in February in the journal Invertebrate Systematics .

Scientists say that more research is needed to confirm that the specimen sighted is the first Solumbellula monocephalus in the Pacific or if it is a potential new species in the ocean basin. “Finds like this are rare, and we never expected to see something like this,” he said. “The most exciting thing about this research is that we come across these things from time to time, and it really broadens our horizon as to where animals can live and exist in the deep sea.”

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