Posted on: 15 Jan 2013
The deep-sea acorn worm with huge lips, Yoda purpurata, has been discovered 2.5 kilometres beneath the Atlantic Ocean. The bright purple worm has large lips on the side of its head and uses them to snag its prey. Scientists have names it after the Star Wars character Yoda. No one knows what it does as yet but scientists say this may be an ancestor of ours.
A new discovery has been made in the Philippines of a sea slug that looks like a pancake. It's almost flat with black branches running across a white surface and yolk like yellow spots bursting through. The sea slug is a hermaphrodite and has a set of reproductive organs for both sexes but cannot fertilize itself. To mate, two sea slugs come together side by side and (usually both) pass sperm sacs through a tube right behind the head. The eggs hatch into free-swimming larvae which eventually settle onto the ocean bottom as adults. A pair of tentacles called rhinophores on the head have scent receptors that allow it to smell its food. Since the rhinophores stick out and can be a target for hungry fish, the slug hase the ability to withdraw them and hide them in a pocket in its skin if it senses danger.
An expedition by the California Academy of Sciences to the Philippines brought back evidence of more than 300 new species, some of which are bizarre. For example, the deep-sea swell shark that can suck in water to make itself larger when confronted by a predator.
Off the Florida Keys, hundreds of stinging tentacles dangle from a 'pink meanie'—a new species of Drymonema larsoni jellyfish discovered this year, which is large ( 3 feet across and 50 pounds) and pink and has a taste for other jellyfishes. Pink meanies prey on other jellyfish, entangling them in tentacles that can be up to 70 feet long. The meanies then reel their victims in and consume them. Adult Drymonema do the majority of their digestion using specialized 'oral arms' that dangle alongside their tentacles. The oral arms exude digestive juices which break down the prey. The creatures have been documented eating 34 jellyfish at a time.
The Potato Bug has nothing to do with potatoes. It feeds on dead material, burrowing underground to get to decaying roots. It produces a unique song, used to communicate during mating, and is made by the insect beating its abdomen against the ground, and gives off a foul-smelling scent.
The Dunaliella algae discovered in 2010 in a cave in Chile's Atacama Desert thrive on very little water. These microbes grow on top of spiderwebs to capitalize on dew that condenses on the webs in the mornings.
The Deinococcus radiodurans bacterium can survive a 15,000 gray dose of radiation, where 10 grays would kill a human and it takes over 1,000 grays to kill a cockroach.
One newfound creature is a loriciferan of the genus Spinoloricus. The creature can survive without oxygen.
How many odd creatures have been discovered ! Mudskipper which are fish that live most of their life on land ; Slender Lanternfish that have light organs dotted along the undersides of their bodies; Deep-sea stargazer fish that look like bulldogs and bury themselves in the seafloor to ambush passing prey after locating them with eyes set on top of the head, and use electricity to stun their prey; Humpback Anglerfish which are the size of a tennis ball, have an enormous head dominated by a cavernous mouth full of long slender teeth that can fold backwards when prey is being swallowed; The Fangtooth fish whose teeth are so long that when the jaw is shut, the lower pair must slide into special sheathes on either side of the fish's brain to avoid impaling it; The Black Swallower which has the ability to extend its stomach 3 times its size so that it can swallow fish that are bigger than itself, and when it encounters dark waters, creates its own light.
More than 99 percent of all species that have lived on Earth are now extinct. And scientists estimate that roughly 90 percent of the species left on Earth have yet to be discovered. How sad that most of these will also be extinct long before we discover them thanks to our way of living.