More creatures big & weird discovered in Antarctic waters

I blame Global Warming.

bigweirdstuffantarctica.jpgSYDNEY, Australia — Scientists investigating the icy waters of Antarctica said Tuesday they have collected mysterious creatures including giant sea spiders and huge worms in the murky depths.

Australian experts taking part in an international program to take a census of marine life in the ocean at the far south of the world collected specimens from up to 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) beneath the surface, and said many may never have been seen before.

Some of the animals far under the sea grow to unusually large sizes, a phenomenon called gigantism that scientists still do not fully understand.

“Gigantism is very common in Antarctic waters,” Martin Riddle, the Australian Antarctic Division scientist who led the expedition, said in a statement. “We have collected huge worms, giant crustaceans and sea spiders the size of dinner plates.”

The specimens were being sent to universities and museums around the world for identification, tissue sampling and DNA studies. “Not all of the creatures that we found could be identified and it is very likely that some new species will be recorded as a result of these voyages,” said Graham Hosie, head of the census project.

VIDEO: Giant Sea Spiders

In a related news piece in National Geographic, this rather odd-looking fish was also recently discovered in Antarctica (and promptly named after the discoverer’s fiancé — ouch.):

February 19, 2008—This otherworldly creature was among a haul of strange new fish trawled from the bottom of the oceans of Antarctica. weird-fish-antarctica.jpg

The eelpout Pachycara cousinsi is one of six previously unknown deep-sea fishes caught at depths of 2.8 miles (4.5 kilometers) during a British research expedition to the remote Crozet Islands in the Indian Ocean between Antarctica and Africa.

Team member Nicola King of the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, recently announced the new species.

P. cousinsi is known from just a single, 1.35 foot (41 centimeter) long specimen caught during the 2005 to 2006 voyage. King named the fleshy-lipped species in honor of her fiancé, geophysicist Michael Cousins.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” the marine biologist said.


Related posts here at Tizona’s: Global warming could bring sharks to Antarctica; Wobbegongtastic! Two new species of shark found in Western Australia

Curse You, Global Warming!


UPDATE:  Welcome to our friends from Žvejo Tribūna!

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