An international team of scientists from Australia and the US has made an outstanding discovery during their expeditions near Antarctica—a peculiar underwater species known as the “Antarctic strawberry feather.” This newfound organism’s uncanny resemblance to a strawberry, complete with about 20 appendages and a color spectrum spanning from purplish to deep reddish shades, has gathered attention, and NDTV shares the news on the subject.
Published in the journal Invertebrate Systematics, the new findings emerged from research missions spanning 2008 to 2017, where scientists sought elusive marine entities known as Promachocrinus species, recognized for their unique movements. Samples were meticulously collected from various locations, such as the Siple Coast, Diego Ramirez, and Prince Edward Island.
This endeavor resulted in the identification of seven novel species within the Promachocrinus category, expanding the roster of known Antarctic feather species from one to eight. The species was formally dubbed ‘Promachocrinus fragarius,’ deriving its name from the Latin term “fragum,” which means “strawberry.”
Despite the creature’s imposing size, capable of thriving at depths ranging from 65 to 1,170 meters, the Antarctic strawberry feather star boasts an otherworldly appearance. Upon closer examination through detailed imagery, the creature’s strawberry-like shape and tactile texture become more pronounced.
The researchers admit the complexities of unveiling and characterizing hitherto unknown Antarctic species, highlighting the need of distinguishing between genuinely cryptic and pseudocryptic taxa. This differentiation proves crucial for effective biodiversity monitoring, especially when dealing with taxa that inherently veil their true nature.
The Antarctic Ocean is well known for its unique and diverse range when it comes to marine life, including various species of fish, krill, seals, whales, squid, and penguins. The extreme cold and tough conditions of the Antarctic environment have led to the evolution of many specialized adaptations in the organisms that inhabit it.