It’s something that still remains one of earth’s biggest mysteries: the ocean. Many people often wonder what lies in the deepest parts of these large bodies of water, especially since the vast majority of the world’s ocean still has yet to be explored. Who knows what else we may be missing out on?
When we think of Antarctica, we usually imagine a vast expanse of snow and ice. But what lies beneath the icy depths? Scientists recently discovered an incredible species that is sure to leave you in awe – The Antarctic strawberry feather star.
This fascinating creature was found by researchers working in the ocean near Antarctica and looks like a jellyfish without its round part. Instead, it has 20 ‘arms’, some of which are feathery while others are bumpy.
Additionally, small tentacles known as ‘cirri’ are attached to the base of this creature. These tentacles have tiny claws that allow it to hold onto rocks or other surfaces on the ocean floor. This species measures up to eight inches long and uses its longer ‘arms’ to scuttle through water with ease.
Marine biology professor Greg Rouse from University California San Diego co-authored a paper on this new species along with researchers Emily McLaughlin and Nerid Wilson which was published in Invertebrate Systematics last month.
He explained how they named this species – “We’ve taken away a bunch of the cirri so you can see the parts that they’re attached to, and that’s what looks like a strawberry.”
This simple name is more pronounceable than its formal name – Promachocrinus fragarius. It belongs to Crinoidea class which includes starfish, sea urchins, sand dollars, and sea cucumbers.
Rouse along with his team went out into Southern Ocean dragging nets in hopes of finding more species for their study on Antarctic feather stars where previously there had been only one – Promachocrinus kerguelensis.
Their mission proved successful as four new species were identified which now falls under Antarctic feather star group including two with 10 arms and six with 20 arms under same name Promacochrinus. The discovery was made between 215 feet to about 3840 feet below surface level.