Stars in the Ice
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Scientists studying Antarctica’s waters found a new alien-looking species which they named after a popular fruit, Insider reported.
Meet the Antarctic strawberry feather star, a sea creature measuring up to eight inches long and sporting 20 so-called “arms.”
In their study, researchers explained that the creature – formally known as Promachocrinus fragariu – has a “strawberry-like” central body and its natural color can range from “purplish” to “dark reddish,” according to Gizmodo.
They said the species’ arms are of varying textures, with some being bumpy and others feathery. These appendages are typically spread out and upward, aiding their movement.
The P. fragariu belongs to the Crinoidea, a class of species that includes starfish and sea urchins.
Found between around 200 and 3,800 feet below the ocean surface, its discovery is particularly important because scientists initially believed there was only one species under the Antarctic feather star group – the P. kerguelensis.
Following genetic and body analyses, the authors confirmed that they found seven other species of Promachocrinus, including four species previously never named by scientists.
“So we went from one species with 20 arms to now eight species – six with 20 arms and two with 10 arms under the name Promachocrinus,” co-author Greg Rouse told Insider.
There could be more unknown creatures lurking under the frozen continent’s sea, the authors said.
Still, that strawberry-like marine animal resembles the alien creature from “The Thing” movie – which is also set in Antarctica.