There’s a lot of new stuff being discovered under the water, take a peek at these amazing marine life discoveries.
Could oarfish have inspired the age old myths of sea serpents that bewildered and frightened centuries of mariners? They are certainly big enough. Oarfish are the largest known species of bony fish and have been known to grow over 50 feet in length and weigh as much as 600 pounds. (photo – Catalina Island Marine Institute)
But oarfish are far from ferocious, they eat plankton and are rarely seen, because they normally live at depths between several hundred feet, down to 3,300 feet. So, humans mostly encounter oarfish that have washed ashore, an 18-footer landed on Catalina Island in 2013 and another recently was found on a beach in the Philippines. There are lots of unanswered questions about oarfish but research is rapidly adding to our knowledge of strange and amazing marine life discoveries in the deeper ocean.
Incredibly Rare Video of Live Oarfish
Gigantic Sea Sponge Found in Hawaii
Deep sea researchers exploring ocean depths between Midway atoll and Hawaii found a huge sea sponge that they say could be the oldest animal on the planet. The sponge was discovered at a depth of 2,100m (7,000ft) by a remote-operated submersible in the Papahānaumokuākea marine park, as reported in the Guardian. (photo – AP)
“It’s probably on the order of centuries to millennia old,” said lead researcher Daniel Wagner. It is also the largest sponge on record, “about 12ft wide and 7ft long” or “about the size of a minivan.”
Wagner noted that most of the planet “lies in deep waters, the vast majority of which has never been explored”, and “that “7,000 marine species, a quarter of which are found nowhere else on the planet” are known to live in Papahānaumokuākea marine park alone.
“This one expedition itself came back with over 100 new species,” he said. The Papahānaumokuākea marine park, at over 140,000 square miles, is the largest conservation area in the US, larger in fact than all other US national parks combined. The park was recently expanded by President Obama, read: Marine Protected Areas: Giant Leap for Fish Kind.
Unfortunately Obama’s legacy of conservation is under threat by the Trump administration that is already talking to tuna fishers that want to revoke Obama’s executive orders creating marine parks. See: Trump Attacks EPA and Marine Protected Areas.
Mysterious New Purple Species has Scientists Baffled
What could this be? It was found when the Nautilus, a research vessel was exploring unmapped areas of the Channel Islands off the coast of California. “This unidentified purple orb stumped our scientists on board,” Nautilus posted to its website. “After sampling, it began to unfold to reveal two distinct lobes. This could possibly be a new species of nudibranch.”
There are about 2,300 species of Nudibranchs which are soft-shelled mollusks noted for their striking color and form. This is just one of the marine life discoveries made last year. (photo – Ocean Exploration Trust)
“Ghost Octopus” Found at 2.6 Miles Down
It is estimated that up to 99% of the sea floor remains unexplored, but light is finally being shed on these unmapped areas. In the North Pacific, the Deep Discoverer, a U.S. rover working at a depth of 4,290 meters (14,000 feet or 2.6 miles) took video of: “This ghostlike octopod is almost certainly an undescribed species, and may not belong to any described genus,” says Michael Vecchione, a zoologist with NOAA.
It is not only an unknown species, it is the deepest finless octopus ever seen. “The octopus “did not seem very muscular” and its body is colorless which led to a suggestion that it be named Casper, after the friendly cartoon ghost. See the entire article on Mother Nature Network. (photo – NOAA)
Creatures Never Seen Before Found In Mariana Trench
The Mariana Trench is the ocean’s deepest abyss and recent exploration is revealing mysterious marine life discoveries as reported in New Scientist.
“It’s just so exciting,” says Shirley Pomponi from the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution. “We’re finding new things every day.” (photo – NOAA)
The Trench plunges to depths of 11 kilometers below the Pacific and since April, the Okeanos (a NOAA research vessel) has been cruising above the trench while directing its remotely operated submarines 6 kilometers below.
Patricia Fryer of the University of Hawaii says “Every time we make a dive, we see something new. It’s mind-boggling,” and much of the new is puzzling to the scientists. (photo – rare Acorn Worm- NOAA)
“They’re seeing fish which seem to be a cross-between an eel and a lizard fish,” says Fryer. “When they zoom in to look more closely they’re like ‘nope, that’s not like any of the ones we know’.”
There have been moments when “everyone is dead silent because no one has any idea what we’re looking at”, wrote Diva Amon of the University of Hawaii on the expedition’s blog recently.
Colossal Squid Washes Up On Santa Monica Beach
Remember the sea monster that Jules Verne wrote about? This could be the world’s largest giant squid and I’ve been told that it washed up on a Santa Monica beach. It appears to have been well over 100 feet long and weighed a whopping fourteen tons. I have not been able to find anyone to credit for the photo or find any first person accounts of the enormous squid. So maybe by the time you read this post I can simply wish you an April Fools’ Day.
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