A fisherman from New Zealand was shocked when he caught a see-through shrimp-like creature swimming near the surface of the ocean.
Stewart Fraser was on a fishing trip with his two sons, north of the North Island’s Karikari Peninsula, when he spotted the animal.
“I was in two minds whether to haul it in, but curiosity got the better of me and I decided to take a closer look,” Fraser said. “It felt scaly and was quite firm, almost jelly like, and you couldn’t see anything inside aside from this orange little blob inside it.”
Fraser and his fellow fishermen were left dumbfounded as to what the peculiar creature was.
“We have no idea what it could have been but it was quite something and I’d never seen anything like it before,” he said.
Deborah Cracknell, research lead from the National Marine Aquarium, told MailOnline the shrimp-like creature might be a Salpa Maggiore (Salpa maxima).
“Little is known about these salps, however, they are often found in colder seas, with the most abundant concentration found in the Southern Ocean,” Paul Cox, director of conservation and communication at the National Marine Aquarium said. “The salp is barrel-shaped and moves by contracting, pumping water through its gelatinous body.”
The Salpa Maggiore is harmless and feeds only on plankton. Its see-through body acts as a defense mechanism against predators when floating near the surface.
Salps are known to exist “both as individuals and part of an aggregate organism,” meaning many salps join together to form one.
“In the group portion of their cycle, salps will form a massive chain, moving, feeding, and growing together. It’s during this phase that the salps, sequential hermaphrodites by nature, reproduce, with an older male chain fertilizing a younger female one,” according to Outside Online.
Source: Daily Mail, Outside Online