Sunday, 3 August 2014

This Strange Purple Creature Is Actually A Living Colony (VIDEO)


The Huffington Post | By Clarke Reilly


Posted: 07/09/2014 8:57 am EDT Updated: 07/09/2014 8:59 am EDTPrint Article

Scientists with cameras are a fun bunch, especially when they stumble upon something crazy-looking and mysterious they had no idea they'd see.

In the above video, a purple blob looks like a piece of trash drifting in the current. But when it starts to move, these scientists get pretty excited.

That's because what they're seeing is a rare creature called a siphonophore. Actually, it's not just one creature, but a whole colony of animals, called zooids. Siphonophores are composed of dozens of them, and each have specialized functions. For example,some zooids help with swimming while others feed, according to Siphonophores.org.

Researchers on the Ocean Exploration Trust's EV Nautilus captured this unusual one as it crossed its cameras during an expedition last month in the Gulf of Mexico. The scientists can be heard ooo-ing and aah-ing over their discovery, estimating its size to be about 15 to 20 Wiffle balls, give or take. (Using a Wiffle ball as a unit of measurement underwater provides size prospective when analyzing images.)

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