A bizarre and rarely seen sea creature was observed by a team from BP as the company carried out routine operations near an oil well off the coast of Angola with a remotely operated underwater vehicle.
The ROV spotted the sea creature swimming near the seabed at 4,350 feet and gave it the nickname "flying spaghetti monster" for obvious reasons (and possibly also as a nod to the satirical religion of Pastafarianism).
The team was so intrigued by the flying spaghetti monster that it sent the video to Daniel Jones of the National Oceanography Center in Southampton, U.K., according to the New Scientist.
Jones is a deep-sea animal researcher and is involved with the Serpent project, which collects footage of sea creatures from offshore oil and gas companies and their ROV teams.
Jones identified the flying spaghetti monster as a siphonophore.
Philip Pugh, one of Jones's colleagues, pinned it down precisely. After noticing that the tentacles do not have side branches, he deduced that it was a specimen of Bathyphysa conifera.
Siphonophores belong to a group of aquatic animals that include corals and jellyfish. Specimens up to 40 metres long have been found, making them among the world's longest animals.
In its video, the Serpent project identified it as a rhizophysid siphonophore, otherwise known as a flying spaghetti monster.
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