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Meet the Pyrosome, One of the Ocean’s Strangest Creatures

Source: Motherboard/Theresa Locker - February 24, 2017 in Radio

Meet the Pyrosome, One of the Ocean’s Strangest Creatures
Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program

The ocean is Earth’s last unexplored frontier, with millions of unknown species lurking in its depths. Most of those animals, though mysterious, have recognizable features: eyes, teeth, fins.

But one strange creature more closely resembles a giant, luminous condom adrift at sea. The glowing cylindrical structure floats in tropical waters and is built of hundreds, and sometimes thousands of tiny creatures. Together, the colony of animals forms the mystical glowing roll called a pyrosome.

The scale of these glowing water towers—more appropriately referred to as colonial tunicates—may make them look foreboding, but the towers are spectacular, harmless creatures that are so rarely encountered that marine researcher Rebecca Helm once called them the “unicorn of the sea.”

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Video Credit: BBC

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