Antarctica’s Frozen Seas Are Home To A 20-Armed Sea Monster.

Scientists sailing aboard a research ship off the coast of Antarctica have captured a new underwater creature, one with 20 arms and a distinctive body shaped as small as a straw.

The purpose of the researchers’ expeditions, carried out between 2008 and 2017, had been to hunt for ‘cryptic’ marine animals: a group known as Proachocrinus, or Antarctic feather stars.

Although similar to other inert ocean animals, such as starfish and sea cucumbers, feather stars are distinguished by both their “large” size and their “otherworldly appearance” when swimming, the researchers said.

The otherworldly-looking horrors can reside anywhere from 65 feet to around 6,500 feet below the ocean’s surface, where they encountered eight unique species on their mission, including four previously unnamed scientists.

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Scientists fishing from a research vessel off the coast of Antarctica caught a new underwater creature, one with 20 arms that they named the Antarctic straw feather star, or Proachocrinus fragarius.

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The entire group known as Proachocrinus, or Antarctic feather stars, can live anywhere from 65 feet to around 6,500 feet below the ocean’s surface, where researchers with Scripps found eight unique species on their mission, including four scientists without name before.

Specimens unearthed during previous expeditions had long been presumed, though without verification, to exemplify this species.

Up to this point, only one singular species had been unequivocally recognized as a constituent of this genus, designated Proachocrinus kerguelensis.

The scholars noted that their ability to properly classify numerous additional distinct members within the genus was only now possible through an examination of the DNA and physical morphology, or shape, of these organisms.

The color of the Antarctic strawberry feather star, the team said, can range from “purple” to “dark reddish.”

The new study was published this July in the peer-reviewed journal Inʋertebrate Systeмatics.

Although these researchers may have unraveled a riddle of the sea, a large number of undiscovered species remain in the unknown realm.

Comprehensive exploration will be essential to gain even a basic understanding of the profusion of life within Antarctic waters, they said.

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