Giant sea creature or a colony of tiny individuals?
Let’s face it – the ocean’s waters inhabit a vast amount of species and ecosystems unknown to man. With more than 225k marine species identified, another 2mill remain a complete mystery to human beings. So, we can only imagine the horrific thoughts running through the head of an uninformed diver stumbling across one of these tube-shaped phenomena.
But that wasn’t the case for Andrew Buttle and his friend Steve Hathaway who immediately knew what they were encountering is a colony of tiny sea animals that link together. It is called a Pyrosome and made up of thousands of smaller creatures called ‘zooids’ held together by a gelatinous tunic that resembles something like a ‘wind-sock’. The tiny individuals work in unison to propel the colony through the water.
They actually get their names from their bioluminescent feature: “pyro” meaning “fire” in Greek, and “soma” meaning “body.” Their blue-green light can be seen more than 100 feet away.
According to Science Alert, their mysterious features and bioluminescent glow have caused some scientists to dub them the “bizarre unicorns of the sea” and reportedly feel “like an exquisitely soft feather boa.”
Buttle and Hathaway came across this majestic sighting off the coast of New Zealand and although these floating colonies are not entirely considered to be rare, a specimen this large is an uncommon sight.
Enjoy the video!