TECH

It Took Over A Century, But Scientists Have Finally Located The Elusive Sea Blob

Where has it been hiding?

07/12/2016 10:53 GMT

Scientists have finally been able to confirm the existence of a mysterious sea blob, more than a century after it was first spotted.

The bizarre cloud of mucus, accurately described by the researchers as a ‘psychedelic slinky’, was first recorded by Professor Carl Chun back in 1899 while he was on a sea voyage. 

MBARI

The sailors on the expedition with Chun believed the marine animal came up from the depths of the ocean and it was a mythical ‘ferryman of the dead’.

So it was named Bathochordaeus Charon after the notorious Charon - the Charon is a figure in Greek mythology that carried souls of the dead through the underworld.

But since then, the scientific community was unable to officially confirm the existence of the bizarre creature.

In the one hundred years that followed, several other naturalists reported spotting giant larvaceans, though only a few were captured alive. 

Now a team from the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California have found conclusive evidence of the transparent filter feeder in the Monterey Bay harbour.

Researcher Rob Sherlock, told Live Science: “Since the vehicle was recovered some tens of minutes later, the animal was alive, in fantastic shape, and we preserved it right away in order to send it to the Smithsonian [museum].

“We had no idea, until we looked more closely at the specimen, that we had actually found B.charon, the species first described over a hundred years ago.”

The sea blob is almost 3.3 feet in length, and filters food through a mucus-parachute, and though the sea is teaming with tiny larvaceans, the larger versions such as this, are much less common.