Deep Sea "Spaghetti Monster"
The creature was spotted more than 4,000 feet under water off the Angola coast by a BP energy team. The team had been using a remotely operated deep-sea vehicle (ROV) for oil well maintenance, according to the journal New Scientist.
The species nicknamed "flying spaghetti monster," was identified as a siphonophorae of the species Bathyphysa conifera, by researchers Daniel Jones and colleague Phil Pugh who specialize in deep-sea ecology at the National Oceanography Centre in the U.K. Jones is involved with the SERPENT Project, a collaboration between researchers and ROV teams from oil and gas companies to document ocean life.
Siphonophores belong to a group of aquatic animals that include corals and jellyfish, reports New Scientist. They can grow up to 40 metres long, making them among the world’s longest creatures.
Siphonophores form colonies. Corals are made of identical bodies, however siphonophores have many specialized bodies - called zoids - all genetically identical, developing from a single embryo.
"In a way these specialized bodies function as organs," Stefan Siebert, marine biologist at Brown University told Wired in 2014. "Some move the colony, some feed for the colony, some take care of reproduction."