Divers Dance With Extremely Rare Pyrosome In The Philippines
What’s creepy, fluffy, glow-in-the-dark, and somehow adorable all at the same time?
Pyrosomes, the elusive and totally trippy sea creature rarely seen in real life.
It’s so rare to spot pyrosomes that marine biologist Rebecca Helm calls them the unicorns of the ocean. While one pyrosome looks like a single worm-like creature, it’s actually a colony of hundreds to thousands of individuals called zooids, cloned from one egg and bound together in a cylindrical tunicate.
The translucent tube it forms is hollow, closed on one end and open on the other.
The zooids are bound together in a “gelatinous tunic,” which is why the colony looks like a purplish-blue gummy worm. It’s also bioluminescent and can emit a blue-green chemical light, which is especially radiant in the dark.
Pyrosomes are filter feeders that use the pores, or individual zooids, on its outer surface to eat microscopic plankton.