Deep-sea researchers have found a strange purple creature lurking in the waters off the California coast.
Scientists working in the deep sea have spotted something strange in the waters off the California coast. It’s a kind of small purple blob sitting motionlessly at the bottom of the ocean, making us realize how diverse the life inside the ocean is.
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The purple blob is just 2 inches across and has a beautiful round structure, but researchers are not sure what exactly the creature is. They speculate that it could be a new type of tunicate, some sort of sea slug, a closer relative of soft bodied, marine gastropod mollusk or possibly an entirely new species.
The odd little creature is discovered by a team of researchers aboard Nautilus exploration vessel. Researhcers were having a trip into the deep waters of Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary off California when they came across this strange creature lurking in the ocean floor. The team was actually there to study coral reefs.
Researchers have captured a sample of the creature using a suction tube and got up close with it.
“After sampling, it began to unfold to reveal two distinct lobes. After consulting with on shore scientists, the team thinks it may be a pleurobranch, a close relation to the nudibranch. Currently, none of the known species of California deep-sea pleurobranchs are purple, so this could be a new discovery.” Researchers on E/V Nautilus wrote in the blog.
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Researchers have sent the ‘purple blob’ to the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology for thorough analysis. They are planning to sequence its DNA as well so it can be classified. It will take some time to identify it and even more if it is a completely new species.