World’s longest animal discovered in Australian waters
The 46-metre-long siphonophore was found lurking 625 metres beneath the waves off the Western Australian coastline.
A deep-sea expedition led by the Schmidt Ocean Institute has discovered 30 potentially new species of marine creatures, including a siphonophore that’s thought to be the longest animal ever observed.
It has been estimated to be 46 metres long, nearly six times the length of a Routemaster double-decker bus.
Though they appear to be a single animal, each siphonophore is in fact a colony of organisms that clone themselves thousands of times and join together to form long chains. Like jellyfish, they have stingers that ensnare, paralyse and kill prey.
The discoveries were made using ROV SuBastian, a remotely operated robotic vehicle that’s capable of diving to depths of 4.5 kilometres.
The expedition in pictures
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Jason is the commissioning editor for BBC Science Focus. He holds an MSc in physics and was named Section Editor of the Year by the British Society of Magazine Editors in 2019. He has been reporting on science and technology for more than a decade. During this time, he's walked the tunnels of the Large Hadron Collider, watched Stephen Hawking deliver his Reith Lecture on Black Holes and reported on everything from simulation universes to dancing cockatoos. He looks after the magazine’s and website’s news sections and makes regular appearances on the Instant Genius Podcast.
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