A fisherman in waters north of New Zealand came across an odd-looking, translucent sea creature swimming on the surface. Curious, he caught the creature—presumably scooping it up with a net—to get a closer look.
It was described as a see-through, shrimp-like creature by the U.K. MailOnline.
“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,” fisherman Stewart Fraser told MailOnline.
Fraser, who had been fishing with sons Conaugh and Finn 43 miles north of the Karikari Peninsula, took photos and shared them with his fishing buddies, none of whom could identify the sea creature.
“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.
Fortunately, the folks at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, U.K., had an idea, identifying it as a Salpa maggiore (Salpa maxima).
Paul Cox, director of conservation and communication at the aquarium, told MailOnline that a salp is barrel-shaped, moves by pumping water through its gelatinous body, and that the life-cycle includes alternate generations of existing as solitary individuals or as a group forming long chains.
“In common with other defenseless animals that occupy open water—jellies and hydroids, for example—the translucence presumably provides some protection from predation,” Cox told MailOnline. “Being see-through is a pretty good camouflage in water.”
The report doesn’t say, but it is presumed Fraser threw the bizarre sea creature back into the ocean.
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