Scientists have discovered a group of rare deep-sea creatures linked to corals and jellyfish in shallow waters off the 17,000-year-old coast of Western Australia,media CNET reported. On a recent voyage to the Kimberley Ocean Park, scientists at the Australian Institute of Marine Science discovered benthic siphophores on the seabed. It is also one of the earliest records of the population in Australian waters.
Benthic siphonophores are underwater predators that use tentacle snares – like giant underwater cobwebs, using light and motion – to attract prey.
Project leader Karen Miller was leading the expedition on the AIMS research ship Solander when the unusual discovery was made. “These creatures are usually found in depths of about 3,000 meters (9,840 feet) deep and rarely seen, so why are it so exciting to see at depths of 100 to 150 meters (328 to 492 feet),” Miller said in a statement Thursday. “
There have been no previous record of Benthic siphophophores in Western Australian waters.
Miller added: “We’ve been working with international taxonomists and we think these Benthic siiinophores may be one of Archangelopsis.” “In order to properly identify the species, Miller and her team will need to collect specimens and work with taxonomists to determine if they are indeed new species.