Scientists on a research ship near Antarctica discovered a new creature with 20 arms.
The new creature was discovered when the team cast nets in the Southern Ocean in search of a “puzzling” group of marine animals called Promachocrinus , also known as the Antarctic feather star.
Close-up of the center of the body of a strawberry feather star in the Antarctic sea – (Photo: MIAMI HERALD).
This is a “large” animal that can live anywhere from about 20m to about 2km underwater and has a “unique appearance” when swimming.
Although they are both marine invertebrates, feather stars are distinct from the more famous sea stars.
During the survey, researchers collected eight feather stars with special body shapes. Thanks to that, they discovered a new species: Promachocrinus fragarius , also known as the “Antarctic strawberry feather star” , according to the Miami Herald news site.
The close-up photo above shows the lower body of the Antarctic strawberry feather star. It is roughly triangular in shape, wider at the top and tapering, rounded at the bottom.
A preserved Antarctic strawberry feather star – (Photo: MIAMI HERALD).
The study, published in the journal Invertebrate Systematics, says the Antarctic strawberry feather star has 20 arms branching out from the center of its body “like a strawberry”. It can range in color from purple to dark red.
It has 2 appendages. Its shorter, lower arms appear almost striped and bumpy, while its longer, upper arms appear almost furry and soft.
However, the researchers did not report the animal’s overall size measurements.
Based on body shape and DNA analysis, they confirmed that this is a completely new species.
They named it after the Latin word for “strawberry” because its body shape resembles a strawberry. They are found throughout the Southern Ocean, from depths from about 65m to about 1.2km.
In addition to Promachocrinus fragarius, researchers also recorded three new species of Antarctic feather stars.
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