Unlike its relatives, which prefer to roll on the ocean floor, this sea cucumber spends most of its life in motion.
There are about 1200 different species of sea cucumbers in the world. Many prefer to lie at the bottom of the ocean, while others are ready to move, but only in case of danger, and only pelagothuria (Pelagothuria natatrix) spend most of their lives in motion, writes The Guardian.
This species was first discovered by scientists at the end of the 19th century. However, for a long time, scientists were able to detect only a few representatives of this species – they were caught by scientific trawl nets and turned out to be very distraught – due to the fact that they have jelly-like gelatinous bodies, they are almost impossible to keep intact, which complicates further study.
In 2014, Chris Mach, a biologist at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, made the so-called rediscovery of the species. Next, the scientist looked at the database of deep-sea images and noted floating umbrellas, which are often mistaken for jellyfish. However, Mach noticed a resemblance to a little-studied floating sea cucumber. The biologist’s finding prompted other scientists to look for representatives of this species, and three years later, researchers found about a hundred pelagothuria in the waters between Samoa and Hawaii.
Pelagothuria natatrix – literally translates as a floating sea cucumber. Representatives of this marine species live at a depth of 196 to 4440 meters. Scientists have found that floating sea cucumbers often choose areas with low oxygen levels. According to Mach, this is how pelagothurians protect themselves from large predators, which, as a rule, require more oxygen.
Scientists studied representatives of this species and came to the conclusion that they apparently evolved and adopted the lifestyle of jellyfish. The fact is that some sea cucumbers can still move, albeit for a long time and not too far. The ancestors of the Pelagothurians seem to have started and then evolved in the same way – they now spend most of their lives on the move.
The body of a floating sea cucumber is composed of water and a small amount of collagen. Pelagothuria do not require much energy to maintain such a gelatinous mucus and therefore they feel deeply safe. In addition, their jelly-like body helps them swim – they float in nature, and therefore animals do not need to spend a lot of energy on vigorous swimming.
Previously Focus He wrote that a giant “underwater cockroach” was found at the bottom of the ocean near the island of Java.