Is that Cthulhu? A creature with 20 arms was fished off the coast of Antarctica. Photo
A team of scientists exploring the cold ocean waters near Antarctica in search of mysterious marine animals known as Promachocrinus, or Antarctic feather stars, succeeded during one of their "hunts." Not only did the researchers catch the desired individual, but they also discovered that it was a previously unknown species.
This is stated in a study published in the journal Invertebrate Systematics. As reported by the Miami Herald, to find the coveted species, the scientists have conducted several research expeditions in the Southern Ocean since 2008.
The sea animal they were looking for - Promachocrinus - are "large" animals that can live 20 to 2,000 meters underwater and have an "otherworldly appearance" while swimming, reminiscent of the legendary Cthulhu, a pagan deity from Howard Lovecraft's horror works.
Like ordinary sea stars, feather stars are invertebrate ocean animals, but are different from their marine relatives.
During their research, scientists collected eight feather stars with distinctive body shapes and even discovered a new species: Promachocrinus fragarius, or the Antarctic strawberry feather star.
The creature has 20 branching arms from a central body, the study said. Its color can range from "purple" to "dark red." The researchers did not provide its exact size, but described it as large.
Published photos show that the new species has two types of appendages. The lower, shorter arms look almost striped and knobby, while the upper, longer arms look almost plumed and soft.
The researchers also published a close-up of the lower body of Promachocrinus fragarius. It is triangular in shape, wider at the top and tapering to a rounded lower tip. The texture looks lumpy with circular indents that were probably left by broken off arms.
The new species was named after the Latin word for "strawberry" because the researchers decided that the creature's body was similar to a strawberry.
Although these species of feather stars were unique because of their location and size, these creatures are plentiful in the sea. According to the researchers, the Antarctic strawberry feather star was found throughout the Southern Ocean at depths ranging from about 65 to 1,170 meters. The new species was identified based on body shape and DNA analysis, the study said.
Scientists also noted that the number of arms for this species was also unique, as most other representatives of this family have about five arms.
Earlier OBOZREVATEL also wrote about the fact that in China was found the skull of a previously unknown species of man.