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Rare Deep Sea-Creature Glows And Can Grow Up To 30 Metres Long

Australian Divers captured rare and incredible images of the pyrosome or Pyrostremma Spinosum, a sea creature at the coast of Tasmania. This creature is so rare that it’s been named  ‘Unicorn of the sea‘. It can grow to 100ft in size (30 metres long), which is equivalent to two double decker buses that are laid end-to-end.  The Pyrosome has a translucent, hollow and cylindrical body made up of thousands of tiny clones that are called zooids. The zooids pull water through tubes, feed on plankton and then push back out the filtered water.

the pyrosome
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Each of the zooids is just a few millimeters in size. Tissue connects each of them and they move as one while inside the Pyrosome’s tube structure. The pyrosome can also be referred to as a sea squirt. They are pelagic in class which means they swim freely in open water than near land. They are rare to spot.

The zooids connected by tissue
The zooids connected by tissue. Image Credit: Nick Hobgood (taken from)

There is a hole that can be two meters wide at the pointed end of the pyrosome’s long tube. This opening is big enough to fit a full human. Scary! Rebecca Helm (Deep Sea News) says that “they’re giant, terrifying looking, and trolling through the depths of the ocean, waiting for you to swim in one end and get stuck.  Maybe. But fortunately, in addition to being slow moving filter feeders, they’re also delicate and fluffy.”

the pyrosome
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One of the divers described it by saying that “it felt like an exquisitely soft feather boa”. Michael Baron who is from the Eagle Hawk Dive Centre did a recording of the giant creature found in Tasman Peninsula, Australia. This area is among a few where “oceanic gelatinous plankton” can be found close to shore. Michael managed to also film salps which are similar to the pyrosome. The individuals inside it however, are larger than zooids in the pyrosome.

Eaglehawk Dive Centre claim in their YouTube page that: “Salps have much larger individuals than pyrosomes, individuals pump water through themselves. Colonies are formed of chains of individuals. Salps can form very high densities under good conditions, and are an important oceanic food source for fish.”
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