World’s ‘longest animal’ discovered in Australia’s deep ocean
Scientists exploring the deep sea off Australia’s coast have discovered as many as 30 new marine species – and what may be the longest animal ever seen.
The discoveries were the result of expeditions into Western Australia’s underwater canyons. One of the biggest discoveries was a siphonophore measuring an estimated 150 feet (46 metres). Siphonophores are deep-sea predators made up of many small clones that act together as one and spread out like a single long string in the water. Researchers think this particular siphonophore may be the longest yet found.
What are siphonophores?
Siphonophores, like jellyfish, feed by dangling stinging tentacles in the water. Small crustaceans and fish unlucky enough to swim into this curtain of tentacles are paralyzed and reeled up to the body of the colony. The new siphonophore was about twice as long as many blue whales, and three times as long as a humpback whale, which usually grow to around 50ft long.