What the heck is this thing???
It’s a physonect siphonophore, of course. Duh.
I just know PZ is going to love this: the siphonophore image is from a website that has incredible high-resolution images of truly wondrous and bizarre beasties dwelling in our oceans. Here’s what they say about themselves:
Through close collaboration with key players in the oil and gas industry, the “Scientific and Environmental ROV Partnership using Existing iNdustrial Technology” (SERPENT) project aims to make cutting-edge ROV technology and data more accessible to the world’s science community, sharing knowledge and progressing deep-sea research. The programme will interact with science and conservation groups globally and transparently communicate our project to the public to increase the awareness of our fragile marine resources.
I am always leery of such corporations when they go a bit green, but this may very well be on the up-and-up. And the images are stunning, well worth a weekend once-over.