Strange New Marine Creatures Found in Australia

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hundreds of new marine creatures, including as many as 150 soft corals, have been discovered in three Australian reefs, scientists report.

Previously unknown shrimps, worms, scavenging crustaceans, and spectacularly colored soft corals were identified at the tropical sites during a study led by the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).

Part of the Census of Marine Life, a ten-year initiative to assess global ocean diversity, the expeditions involved systematic sampling of lesser known coral reef animals at Lizard and Heron islands on the Great Barrier Reef and Ningaloo Reef on Australia’s west coast.

A comb jelly trips the light fantastic as it pulses. The creature lacks the stingers of more common jellyfish.

The small, delicate seaweed species, Caulerpa cupressoides was discovered for the first time.

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A green-banded snapping shrimp reveals its disproportionate weaponry.

A gelatinous “creature” pictured floating in the water is actually a colony of smaller animals called alpacas.
These sac-like filter feeders can either float as individuals or can form long chains as they drift through the ocean feeding on plankton.

A pair of fan worms wave their feathery feeding arms to filter tiny particles from the water.

A new species of sea slug, or nudibranch, makes an exotic addition to the coral reefs.

A new variety of translucent soft corals–so-called because they lack the hard skeletons of reef-building corals.Type rest of the post here


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