Things get pretty weird deep in the ocean. That’s where you find the pale, noodly, and bizarre creature dubbed the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a jellyfish relative so-called for its resemblance to a lumpy mass of pasta.
The Flying Spaghetti Monster was recently captured on video floating eerily on the ocean floor 4,000 feet from the surface, off the coast of Angola, LiveScience reported.
This discovery is actually quite a milestone for science. The species captured is quite rare and researchers rarely see them in the natural habits.
Oil and gas company BP is credited with the discovery; workers came upon the animal accidentally while filming the ocean floor using a remotely operated underwater vehicle. Though “Flying Spaghetti Monster” is a very apt description, its real name is a siphonophore, an identification made by researchers at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, England.
“This unusual creature has sparked a huge reaction on the internet with over a quarter of a million people watching the video over the last week!” said Daniel Jones, at the center, told Science World Report. “It is a great example of how collaboration with industry can allow us to see much more of the deep sea and its strange and wonderful marine life.”
The siphonophore is related to both jellyfish and corals. And one of its more unusual — if not a little creepy — characteristics is that it’s actually comprised of numerous different organisms that glue themselves together to make one animal.
These organisms are called zooids. They attach themselves to other zooids, and together, become one larger animal. This weird progress begins with one zooid: others sprout from the original, developed from a fertilized egg, and on and on until you get a Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Each zooid contributes something to help the siphonophore survive, like catching food, or reproducing.
And what about those noodle-like appendages? Those are zooids, too — actually, gastrozooids — and their job is to catch food.
[Photo Courtesy YouTube Screengrab]