Scientists Discovered New Underwater Gelatinous Species Shaped Like a 'Party Balloon'
Image Credits: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research team.
2020's the year of every possible bizarre thing happening: Including discovery of new species.
Scientists have recently a new species of comb jelly, also known as ctenophore in the waters near Puerto Rico.
The new species which has been named Duobrachium sparksae was discovered two and a half miles below sea level by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries research team. It was found during an underwater expedition using a remotely operated vehicle in 2015 and filmed by a high-definition camera, reports CNN.
NOAA Fisheries scientists Mike Ford and Allen Collins spotted the ctenophore and recognized it as a new species. This is the first time NOAA scientists have identified a new species using only high-definition video.
“It’s unique because we were able to describe a new species based entirely on high-definition video. The cameras on the Deep Discoverer robot are able to get high-resolution images and measure structures less than a millimeter. We don’t have the same microscopes as we would in a lab, but the video can give us enough information to understand the morphology in detail, such as the location of their reproductive parts and other aspects,” said Collins, in their report.
No physical samples have been collected yet, so the only evidence of the species existence so far is video footage.
“We didn’t have sample collection capabilities on the ROV at the time. Even if we had the equipment, there would have been very little time to process the animal because gelatinous animals don’t preserve very well; ctenophores are even worse than jellyfish in this regard. High-quality video and photography were crucial for describing this new species,” Collins explained.
The species was still named, based on the video evidence. “Naming of organisms is guided by international code, but some changes have allowed descriptions of new species based on video—certainly when species are rare and when collection is impossible,” Ford explained in their report.
“When we made these observations, we were 4,000 meters down, using a remote vehicle, and we did not have the capabilities to take a sample.”
The videos are now part of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Collection and publicly accessible.