Scientists are reporting that they have discovered a plethora of underwater life in the fertile waters of Australia. According to AFP, a joint team of US and Australian sea explorers spent a month off the coast of Tasmania searching for marine animals that inhabit the very deepest levels of the sea. Among their exciting discoveries are ocean-dwelling spiders, enormous sponges, purple-spotted sea anemones and a menacing, carnivorous sea squirt.
The Sea Squirt: An Underwater Venus Flytrap
Arguably, one of the team’s most interesting and sinister discoveries is the carnivorous sea squirt. The sea squirt, which researcher Adam Subhas describes as “basically an underwater Venus Flytrap, but much bigger,” stands about 50 centimeters tall and traps its prey in what AFP describes as a “funnel-like front section.”
The Venus Flytrap: A Land-Dwelling Version of Australia’s Newly-Discovered Sea Squirt
The Venus Flytrap is a rather pretty – albeit carnivorous – plant that catches and digests its unsuspecting prey (primarily insects and arachnids) in a trapping structure that is formed by what Wikipedia describes as “the terminal portion of each of the plant’s leaves,” and is triggered by “tiny hairs on their inner surfaces.” When, say, a spider comes in contact with one or more of the hairs twice in a row, the trap snaps shut, sealing the poor spider’s fate as a tasty meal for the Venus Flytrap.
The Sea Squirt, Dragon Millipede and Other Newly-discovered Critters
That an underwater version of the Venus Flytrap – namely the Australian sea squirt – exists in the Australian deep is quite a remarkable revelation. Who’d of thunk it? Any time new forms of life are discovered it’s cause for celebration. Just last December it was reported that, over the last decade, scientists have discovered more than 10,000 species of new life along the forests and wetlands of the Mekong River in Southeast Asia. These include the Dragon Millipede, the world’s biggest huntsman spider, and scores of plants, fish, frogs, birds, lizards, snakes, salamanders and turtles. Nature lovers everywhere marvel at these fascinating creatures, and anxiously await the discovery of even more. Who knows how many more undiscovered creatures lurk in the bushes and seas of God’s magnificent green earth?
Scientists find new creatures of Australian deep, AFP
Venus Fly Trap, Wikipedia.org
More than 1,000 species discovered in Mekong: WWF, AFP, December 8, 2008