A mysterious purple orb sucked off the sea bed during a live-streamed Nautilus exploration has stumped scientists, and naturally the internet too.
After some delightfully nerdy speculation regarding the nature of said blob-I think cnidarian, spider egg sac, and 'blobus purpilis' were tossed out-the scientists operating Nautilus' undersea robot made a decision to suck the thing up and bring it back to the surface for scientific analysis. Some of the species are very colorful, appearing in bright nuances of blue, pink and orange. "We don't want to mess with spider eggs", a researcher says.
"This unidentified purple orb stumped our scientists onboard", they wrote.
From the incredible footage, we can see that the research team was facing a dramatic stand-off between the Nautilus and a nearby crab who was also interested in the purple orb. "After sampling, it began to unfold to reveal two distinct lobes", the team says. Currently, there are about 2,300 known nudibranch species. Their best guess is that it might be a gastropod (a mollusk such as a snail or slug that belongs to the class Gastropoda) called a pleurobranch - and possibly a new species.
Consultation with other scientists on shore has led the team to believe that it may be a pleurobranch, closely related to the nudibranch.
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Nudibranchs are a type of marine mollusks that shed their shells while in the larvae stage.
"Both are types of sea slugs, like this one". This suggests that the purple blob may be a new species.
Researchers on the marine exploration vessel Nautilus came across something rather remarkable on the ocean floor this week.
While the Southern California Margin has been explored for 50 years, notes NautilusLive.org, "high-resolution multibeam bathymetric coverage of the seafloor here remains less than 50% complete, leaving much to be discovered".
Researchers have just found a mysterious purple blob at the bottom of the ocean (or, more accurately, a crab found it), and they have absolutely no idea what it is.
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