What The Heck Is This Long, Hypnotic Stringy Thing Floating in The Ocean?

New footage has revealed a trailing ribbon of conjoined tentacled clones sweeping the ocean off the coastline of Australia. Known in some areas as the “long stringy stingy thingy”, siphonophores blur the line between organ and organism. They by some means deal with to be equally at at the time.


“The complete issue looks like a single animal, but it is really many countless numbers of individuals which variety an entity on a greater stage,” marine biologist Stefan Siebert of Brown University informed Wired.

The Ningaloo Canyons Expedition, a team of international scientists from institutes which includes Western Australia Museum, Schmidt Ocean Institute and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, just lately came across a single of these impressive deep sea aliens.

They have been discovering a minor-analyzed but biologically prosperous element of the ocean off the coastline of Western Australia, utilizing ROVs and sonar. The creature was spied on the way again up:

“All people was blown absent when it came into view,” biologists Nerida Wilson and Lisa Kirkendale from the Western Australian Museum informed ScienceAlert. “There was a large amount of pleasure. Individuals came pouring into the manage room from all more than the ship. Siphonophores are usually viewed but this a single was equally big and unconventional-looking.

“Despite the fact that the ROV pilots created an estimate of its length, it has but to be formally calculated. Having said that, it does surface to be for a longer period than any other animal on the planet,” they included.


The outer ring was believed to be about forty seven metres long (154 feet). The complete large issue is composed of tiny individuals identified as zooids. They clone them selves countless numbers of moments into a single of numerous flavours – some with stinging tentacles and even red lures to draw in food stuff, other individuals specialised for copy or motion. Each individual unique acts like an organ in the larger siphonophore body.

Biologist Rebecca Helm from the University of North Carolina Asheville describes the feeding clones on Twitter:

The siphonophore in the online video “appears to have assumed a planar feeding posture, which makes it glimpse a little bit like a spiral UFO,” Wilson and Kirkendale reveal.

In a colony this significant, there would have to be at minimum hundreds of thousands of these conjoined organ-individuals operating alongside one another, to sift the pelagial depths for food stuff. They share their spoils with each and every other by passing nutrition alongside a stem they’re all related to – a vertical branch which also serves as a passageway for nerve alerts.

Helm thinks there are many hundreds of thousands of these siphonophores floating out there in the ocean, alongside with other peculiar creatures they interact with – these types of as this sea slug (Cephalopyge trematoides) that finds them tasty:

An additional memeber of the entourage is this strange barreleye fish (Macropinna microstoma). It has a fluid-stuffed head shield assumed to permit them to sneak into stinging tentacled zooids and steal their food stuff.

It really is a soothing glimpse of the peculiar ocean depths that siphonophores contact dwelling. And you can examine out even far more remarkable weirdos from the Ningaloo Canyons in the online video beneath.

With so significantly extraordinary life concealed absent in our planet’s oceans, who even needs aliens?