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Living ‘balloon on a string’ has been discovered in the deepest part of the Indian Ocean

This potential new species of sea squirt that looks like a balloon on a string.
(Five Depths Expedition)

The depth of the Indian Ocean are home to some bizarre creatures — including one that looks like a balloon on a string.

Explorers caught a video of this slippery beast in a recent dive into the Java Trench, the lower part of the Indian Ocean. This dive was one of the many in the Five Depths of the Expedition, where the crew focused on reaching the deepest part of all the five oceans of the world.

“We were just watching the video back and saw the thing emerge from the darkness,” said Alan Jamieson, the chief scientist on the expedition and a senior lecturer at the University of Newcastle in the united kingdom It floated to the right in the direction of the camera… and then just back off.” [Photos: Spooky Deep-Sea Creatures]

With its long tail, which is “almost like a tentacle that holds something on the track,” it looked like a balloon on a string, he added.

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After the literature search, Jamieson found a group in Japan that had something similar about 20 years ago — a kind of stalked ascidian, or sea squirt. But there were important differences between the new-found creature, and described in the literature — the latter had the wires coming off the top of his head, while this is not, ” he said.

There is a “high probability” of this being a new type, since there is no report of such a being that far down on more than 6,500 metres (21,300 feet), he said.

This creature probably anchors itself to the seabed with its long tentacle, maybe still in a seismically active on the seabed, he said. (Trenches are “seismically active” because they dips on the seafloor where one tectonic plate is pushed under another). Why the tentacle is so long, Jamieson suggested that this could help the creature filter feeding up to 3.3 feet (1 meters) above sea level.

Because the deepest parts of four of the five oceans never visited by people before, “it is not a big surprise for our science team that we are watching a number of creatures that we are pretty sure are new species,” said the maker of the expedition, and Victor Vescovo, an explorer and businessman, who makes the first dive down into the depth, usually solo, in a small titanium-and-glass sphere, submarine.

But not all of the creatures they came across were strange to the members of the crew.

They saw more familiar creatures, such as starfish and sea cucumbers and various hadal snailfish — palm-size, pink, tadpole-like creatures, with small black eyes and semi-transparent bodies, which makes their liver is clearly visible.

This snailfish “may not be new species [because they] are similar to each other,” but it is a kind of “interesting” that we have seen in the deep part of the oceans so far, Jamieson said. Before they visit the Java Trench in the Indian Ocean, the members of the team dove down to the trenches of the Atlantic Ocean and the Southern Ocean around Antarctica — both of which is similar to snailfish.

All three of the ocean, the Indian Ocean seems to be the most close to life, Vescovo said. But, it is also a very undersampled. There is hardly a record” of the creatures down there, Jamieson added.

The members of the research group hope to analyse videos and photos that she took down in the depths of our world and the publication of a number of findings about their research. In addition, the dives are filmed for a Discovery Channel documentary series is set to air in the direction of the end of the year.

The next stop, in two weeks, is the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, the deepest part of the oceans. This trench is the only one that is explored by the man — but only twice, Vescovo said. The AMERICAN Lieutenant Don Walsh and Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard first dove down to the assertion back in the 1960s, and Canadian explorer and filmmaker James Cameron set the record for the deepest in 2012.

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Originally published on Live Science.

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