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Salpa Maggiore: Fisherman Catches See-Through Creature in New Zealand Waters

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Jan 22, 2014 09:10 AM EST

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A fisherman caught a rare creature which is believed to be a Salpa maggiore. The see-through shrimp-like creature was swimming near the surface of the ocean in New Zealand.

Stewart Fraser and his sons Conaugh and Finn were fishing about 43 miles north of the North Island's Karikari Peninsula when they came across the strange looking creature floating near the surface, the Daily Mail reports.

 

"I was in two minds whether to haul it in, but curiosity got the better of me and I decided to take a closer look," Fraser told the Daily Mail. "It felt scaly and was quite firm, almost jelly like, and you couldn't see anything inside aside from this orange little blob inside it."

For photos, check out the Daily Mail.

Fraser was baffled by the creature as he had never seen anything like it. "We have no idea what it could have been but it was quite something and I'd never seen anything like it before," he said.

Deborah Cracknell, research lead from the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth may have a better idea. She told the Daily Mail that the creature may be a Salpa maggiore or Salpa Maxima.

National Marine Aquarium director of conservation and communication  Paul Cox gave a bit more information. "Little is known about these salps, however, they are often found in colder seas, with the most abundant concentration found in the Southern Ocean," Cox said. "The salp is barrel-shaped and moves by contracting, pumping water through its gelatinous body. It strains the water through its internal feeding filters, feeding on phytoplankton from the upper sunlit layer of the ocean."

"They have an interesting life-cycle with alternate generations existing as solitary individuals or groups forming long chains," Cox added. "In common with other defenseless animals that occupy open water - jellies and hydroids for example - the translucence presumably provides some protection from predation. Being see-through is a pretty good camouflage in water."

 

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