WASHINGTON, August 15, 2014 – Nautilus Live expedition piloting a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) found a rare purple siphonophore – one of the most fascinating-looking lifeforms in the world — deep beneath the ocean’s surface. Listen to the video and before going all scientific on us, the excite and disbelief in their voices point to how really rare this sighting is.
The technical description of the animal(s) (because each siphonophore is made up of many individual “jelly fish” like animals called zooids, each contributing to the whole being. Sort of like the Borg.
But more than just its otherworldly shape, this specimen’s purple coloring is said to be rather unusual as well.
The Siphonophorae or Siphonophora, the siphonophores, are an order of the Hydrozoa, a class of marine animals belonging to the phylum Cnidaria. Although a siphonophore appears to be a singleorganism, each specimen is actually a colony composed of many individual animals. Most colonies are long, thin, transparent pelagic floaters. Some siphonophores superficially resemble jellyfish. The best known species is the dangerous Portuguese man o’ war (Physalia physalis). With a body length of 40–50 m (130–160 ft), another species of siphonophore, Praya dubia, is one of the longest animals in the world. – Wiki
There are around 175 known species and they are among the longest animals in the world – som e as lon as 40 meters. They are transparent, and gelatinous, ilke the jelly fish, and their color – usually a dark red or orange – comes from their digestive systems which can be seen through their bodies.
Siphonophores can be bioluminescent, or glowing, turning green or blue when agitated. Siphonophores are predators, eating small fish and crustaceans the capture in their tentacles.
A tip of the hat to The Dodo for sharing this under the sea treat!