Ocean explorers and researchers have discovered what could be the world’s longest animal in a deep ocean canyon off the coast of Australia.
Last April 9, the Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI) published a press release, saying that they have discovered this siphonophore Apolemia, that is estimated to be 150 feet in length. It was discovered during a month-long expedition back in March.
“It’s just magic being there and sharing those things for the first time,” Dr. Wilson said.#NingalooCanyons expedition in @nytimes: https://t.co/oqBlkkncaG
With collaborators @WAMuseum @CurtinUni @GeoscienceAus @Scripps_Ocean @WAMSInews pic.twitter.com/taOfyGOhwy
— Schmidt Ocean (@SchmidtOcean) April 14, 2020
The siphonophore Apolemia are long, thin, string-like creatures that occupy the ocean. They are deep-sea predators that emit light to attract prey like copepods, fish, and even other siphonophores.
But technically, the siphonophore Apolemia isn’t just one animal. The reason why these creatures grow to be this long is because the siphonophore can clone themselves. According to the Schmidt Ocean Institute, they are “a floating colony of tiny individual zooids that clone themselves thousands of times into specialized bodies that string together to work as a team.”
Aside from the siphonophore Apolemia, 30 new underwater species were also discovered during the expedition.
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