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Monday, January 19, 2015

6 Sea Creatures that don’t really look much like Animals

The sea is a very different world. Unlike animals on land that we often identify limbs and fur,some of the animals that live here seem to come from a different world. Unlike your usual fish and crustaceans, the animals below don’t have the typical fins or limbs. Some look more like plants than animals while others are just too alien looking to believe.

No, not the kind you clean up with. Sea sponges are organisms that don’t have any organs. However they do have a complex internal connection of channels that are lined with cells. Water is pumped though these channels and food is filtered out. A small part of this simple organism can survive even if it breaks off its main mass by forming its own base. Many consider sponges as the first kind of animal that ever existed.

Sea Cucumber
Even their names would make you think that they’re not animals. These creatures live in seafloors and spend most of their time lurking around catching plankton and algae with tentacles in their mouths. One of the strangest features of this animal is that when it feels threatened, it shoots out its own internal organs at its attacker and quickly makes a run for it. What’s even more amazing is that its internal organs grow back after a few weeks and it can use it again when threated.

Corals are actually alive and are not just colorful rock formations under the water. Millions of coral polyps gather, secrete a hard outer skeleton made from limestone, and die on top of each other to create coral reefs. Live polyps feed on tiny fishes and zoo plankton and catch them with small tentacles that come out of their mouth. Coral reefs play a very important role in the backbone of the ocean’s ecosystem and astounding biodiversity.

Sand Dollars
Many of us remember collecting these as rough, white colored disks when we go to the beach. Live sand dollars have a dark purple color and are covered with little spines. They feed on crab larvae and plankton. They also use them as gills and to burrow themselves into the sand. Certain fish species and sea stars are the sand dollars worst nightmare.

Giant Tube Worms
These strange creatures live in hydrothermal vents or cracks found deep in the ocean floor that let out volcanically heated water. Bacteria that lives inside them processes the water and takes out nutrients that keeps them alive. As larvae, the have stomachs that ingest the bacteria which feeds them for the rest of their lives. They grow exoskeletons once grown and, although alive, they never eat again.

Sea Butterflies
They look absolutely nothing like butterflies, but they do have appendages that look like wings. These animals are as small as a grain of sand and play a huge part in feeding the different species in the water. They’re classified as zooplanktons, which are known to be the base of the ocean’s food chain. Different species of sea animals and even birds are dependent on these tiny creatures.

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