Divers off the coast of Australia spotted a giant translucent tube with a strange pink sheen on its skin. Initially uncertain about the 10-meter-long creature, they approached it with caution.
As animal gently glided toward them, they decided to reach out and touch it. It felt like a soft, jelly-like substance and it didn’t really react to the diver’s touch.
So what are these things exactly?
A Pyrosome is actually a colony of hundreds, maybe thousands of individual creatures called zooids.
These little creatures work together to propel the colony forward through the ocean. In order for them to move together so perfectly, they cover themselves in a “gelatinous tunic” that joins them all together.
This giant “jelly tube” can grow up to 60 feet long. Some scientists describe it as a giant “living wind sock.” They eat plankton and filter the water as they move along.
Large enough to fit a full grown human inside the six-foot opening, the group of zooids glides seamlessly through the water.
The zooids belong to a group of sea creatures known as “pelagic sea squirts,” yet they’re actually closely related to us.
They’re part of the tunicate group of animals that contain a primitive backbone, which also classifies them as chordates – just like you and me!