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An unusual giant creature with tentacles is first sighted in the depths of the Pacific

“My mind is blown right now,” one of the scientists can be heard as they scan the ocean floor and zoom in little by little to the specimen.

A team of marine scientists from the Ocean Exploration Trust, aboard the deep-sea research vessel E/V Nautilus, spotted a rare giant creature with tentacles, related to jellyfish, hydra and corals. The discovery was made on July 7 north of Johnston Atoll, west of Hawaii.

It was a ‘sea plume’, of which a specimen was seen for the first time in the Pacific Ocean since there were only references to its existence in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, reported the researchers to Live Science.

Using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), scientists discovered the very unusual creature, shaped like a flower, that swam freely at the bottom of the ocean waters. It had tentacles about 40 centimeters long, which extended from a ‘stem’ of almost two meters .

By looking at a single feeding polyp, with tentacles cupping it like spiky petals, the researchers thought they had stumbled upon a Solumbellula monocephalus, also known as ‘Solumbellula sea plume’.

In a video recently posted on youtube, the expedition members show their enthusiasm the moment the ROV camera focused on the strange creature. “My mind is blown right now,” one of the scientists can be heard, as they scanned the ocean floor and inched closer to the strange sight.

The research team considers it necessary to carry out more studies to determine if this is the first Solumbellula monocephalus of the Pacific or if it could be a different species and typical of that ocean. At the moment they prefer to be cautious regarding its taxonomic location, due to the unusualness of the place where it was seen.

Steve Auscavitch, Expedition Principal Investigator, Biologist deep-sea researcher and postdoctoral fellow at Boston University, described the sighting as “fascinating”. “Every now and then we come across something we never expected to see, and those are often the most powerful observations “, said.

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