The census of weird marine monsters
The Census of Marine Life just ended, and after 10 years of intense research, it turns out that sea monsters–or critters, at least–do exist! Here are some of the most interesting/weird new finds among the almost 20,000 new species discovered.
This large anemone is found from the Arctic to Cape Cod along the Eastern United States coast. Nearshore they grow up to 15 centimeters in diamter, and offshore tend to be even larger. They are equipped with powerful stinging cells. Expandable mouths open wide enough to allow them to feed on small fish, urchins, carbs, jellies, and other invertebrates that venture too close. Credit: Andrew J. Martinez
(far left) South of Easter Island, Census vent explorers discovered a crab so unusual it warranted a whole new family designation, Kiwidae. Beyond adding a new family to the wealth of known biodiversity, its discovery added a new genus, Kiwa, named for the mythological Polynesian goddess of shellfish. Its furry or hairy appearance justified its species name, hirsuta. Oh, and it’s nicknamed the Yeti Crab. Credit: Ifremer, A.Fifis, 2006
(near left) Flamingo tongue snail, Cyphoma gibbosum, was photographed near Grand Cayman, British West Indies, and is listed in the Gulf of Mexico biodiversity inventory. Credit: Kacy Moody
This yet unnamed hairy snail (above) was found in a deep-sea volcano of the coast of Japan, in a hydrothermal vent of high temperature and “eternal darkness”.
Thank goodness Ceratonotus steiningeri is only half a millimeter long.