World’s ‘Longest Animal’ Discovered in Australia’s Deep Ocean
Underwater explorers have videoed a strange and record-breaking organism in a deep ocean canyon off Australia.
The string-like creature, which was introduced to the internet by the Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI) on Twitter April 6, is estimated to have an outer ring 154 feet long — the size of an 11-story building — and a possible total length of more than 390 feet, Newsweek reported.
"We think it's the longest animal recorded to date," SOI director of marine communications Carlie Wiener told USA TODAY.
Check out this beautiful *giant* siphonophore Apolemia recorded on #NingalooCanyons expedition. It seems likely tha… https://t.co/oiNIRLrJZ8— Schmidt Ocean (@Schmidt Ocean)1586198064.0
But the creature isn't, strictly speaking, one animal. Instead, it's a genus of siphonophore called Apolemia, as Live Science explained:
Every individual siphonophore is made up of many little "zooids," which each live lives that are more similar to animals we're used to talking about, albeit always connected to the larger colony. Zooids are born axsexually, and each one performs a function for the siphonophore's larger body, according to a research article published in the journal Developmental Dynamics in 2005. Linked together in long chains, the colonies were already known to reach lengths of up to 130 feet (40 m) according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium — though each siphonophore is only about as thick as a broomstick.
This siphonophore was videoed as part of a month-long expedition of deep sea canyons off Western Australia's Nigaloo coast undertaken by Western Australian Museum researchers on board SOI's research vessel Falkor, SOI said in a press release. In addition to the siphonophore, the researchers also discovered as many as 30 new species of marine life.
"There is so much we don't know about the deep sea, and there are countless species never before seen," SOI co-founder Wendy Schmidt said in the press release. "Our planet is deeply interconnected – what happens in the deep sea impacts life on land–and vice versa. This research is vital to advance our understanding of that connection – and the importance of protecting these fragile ecosystems. The Ningaloo Canyons are just one of many vast underwater wonders we are about to discover that can help us better understand our planet."
Rebecca Helm, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina Asheville who was not involved with the expedition, explained on Twitter why the siphonophore was so remarkable.
She said she had seen siphonophores of around 20 centimeters to a meter (approximately eight to 39 inches), but never anything this large, and that it was hunting in a remarkable way, by making itself into a spiral to catch prey.
Some of the clones specialize in catching prey. Their slender bodies hang with a single long tentacle dangling like… https://t.co/eYxZGeyZFJ— Open Ocean Exploration (@Open Ocean Exploration)1586200189.0
...once a clone captures its prey (a fish or crustacean) it will reel it to the colony & other clones that work as… https://t.co/igvAX1ziOQ— Open Ocean Exploration (@Open Ocean Exploration)1586200599.0
"I've gone on numerous expeditions and have never, EVER, seen anything like this," she wrote.
- Meet Our Oldest Common Ancestor: A 555 Million-Year-Old Worm ... ›
- 4 New Walking Shark Species Discovered - EcoWatch ›
- Endangered Blue Whales Make 'Unprecedented' Comeback to ... ›
As U.S. Election Nears, Polling Shows 82 Percent of Voters Support 100 Percent Clean Energy Transition
By Jessica Corbett
With an estimated 66 million ballots already cast and only a week to go until Election Day, new polling released Tuesday shows the vast majority of U.S. voters believe the nation should be prioritizing a transition to 100% clean energy and support legislation to decarbonize the economy over the next few decades.
<div id="5206f" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="584d1641628f692ff103aee7ed74b45e"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1321080152328208384" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Biden should get "uncontrolled climate change would cost $486 trillion" tattooed on his forehead imo https://t.co/nTbVdHa9gD</div> — Emily Atkin (@Emily Atkin)<a href="https://twitter.com/emorwee/statuses/1321080152328208384">1603805027.0</a></blockquote></div>
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Arctic Ocean sediments are full of frozen gases known as hydrates, and scientists have long been concerned about what will happen when and if the climate crisis induces them to thaw. That is because one of them is methane, a greenhouse gas that has 80 times the warming impact of carbon dioxide over a 20 year period. In fact, the U.S. Geological Survey has listed Arctic hydrate destabilization as one of the four most serious triggers for even more rapid climate change.
Are you noticing your shirts becoming too tight fitting to wear? Have you been regularly visiting a gym, yet it seems like your effort is not enough? It's okay to get disappointed, but not to lose hope.
Typhoon Molave is expected to make landfall in Vietnam on Wednesday with 90 mph winds and heavy rainfall that could lead to flooding and landslides, according to the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City. To prepare for the powerful storm that already tore through the Philippines, Vietnam is making plans to evacuate nearly 1.3 million people along the central coast, as Reuters reported.
How does your burrito impact the environment? If you ordered it from Chipotle, there is now a way to find out.
- Food's Environmental Impact Varies Greatly Between Producers ... ›
- Panera Bread Becomes First Chain to Use Climate-Friendly Label ... ›