While exploring the ocean off Antarctica, scientists have discovered an amazing sea creature that looks ghostly and mysterious. The new species has been named the Antarctic strawberry feather star because of its fruit-like shape. This creature has 20 differently shaped “arms” – some are knobby and others look like feathers. Each “arm” can be up to eight inches long. The discovery was published in the journal Invertebrate Systematics and has aroused great interest in the scientific community.
The Antarctic strawberry feather starfish belongs to the class Crinoidea, which includes sea stars, sea urchins, sand dollars and sea cucumbers. The official name of the new species is Promachocrinus fragarius, where “fragarius” comes from the Latin word “fragum”, meaning “strawberry”. This name was chosen because of the similarity of the shape of the new species to the strawberry fruit.
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, say that originally the Antarctic Feather Stars group included only one species, Promachocrinus kerguelensis. However, through extended surveys of the Southern Ocean, the team of scientists discovered four more new species that also belong to this group. Thus, the researchers were able to add eight species to the Antarctic feather stars category. This discovery has expanded our understanding of the diversity of animals that live in the depths of the Antarctic Ocean.
The Antarctic strawberry feather starfish is notable for its many “arms.” While most feather stars have 10 “arms”, the new species has 20. In addition, the typical position of this feather star is characterized by the “arms” spread and raised upward, with the cirri pointing downward. These features make the Antarctic strawberry feather star unique among other species.
The researchers noted that the Antarctic strawberry feather star was found at depths ranging from 215 to 3,840 feet below the ocean surface. This suggests that this creature is adapted to living in high-pressure, low-temperature environments. Studying these adaptations can help us better understand the conditions that exist in the deep ocean and what species of animals can survive in such extreme conditions.
The discovery of new species in the ocean is not uncommon. Scientists discover as many as 10-15 new species every year. This shows that the ocean is still full of unexplored mysteries and diversity of life. The discovery of the Antarctic strawberry feather star-perch emphasizes the importance of further research and conservation of the ocean and its unique biodiversity.