Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Golden Tickets in the NOAA Photo Library! Rarely seen Pelagic Sea Cucumber!

From NOAA Photo Library here. 
HOLY CARP!! So, as you know, I've been going through and finding some GREAT stuff in the NOAA Photo Library (see this post from a few days ago) but every once in awhile you find one that is especially... striking!

This is the "golden ticket" so to speak.. from Charlie & the Chocolate Factory! that moment when Charlie finds that rare golden ticket from millions of chocolate bars! That special ticket to the rare tour of the chocolate factory! From MANY, MANY hours of going through these pictures I've found several GREAT items.
To be sure, there were quite a few "golden tickets" to be found among the thousands of pictures in the NOAA Photo Library (and for professional reasons I haven't shared all of them), but this one made me especially excited!!!   Why??

Because this is probably one of the FIRST public images of the "proper" Swimming sea cucumber Pelagothuria, possibly Pelagothuria natatrix!!  See my post here.  Dr. Dave Pawson at the NMNH confirms its identity. The image was taken from the Galapagos Rift Expedition in 2011. So its been sitting around for several years! 

Translation: A TRUE SWIMMING SEA CUCUMBER and probably the ONLY swimming (i.e. pelagic) echinoderm known!!! 
From NOAA Photo Library here. 
What you're seeing above is the swimming "umbrella" around the mouth, which is facing upwards! The body is the cone -shaped bit below it. 

This species occurs between 570 and 6000 meters in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans but is poorly known. 

Previously.. this animal was known only from pictures....
Or from these grainy videos....(from Miller & Pawson)
 I have no doubt that there's scientists (my colleagues) out there who have seen this before and probably have video of this species..but this is the first that is available to share with ANYONE!!

So that's why you guys are getting TWO posts this week!!


Johnn Morales said...

Here is a video apparently of a swimming pelagic sea cucumber at home in the water column. The announcer apparently knows the difference between this one and the famous Enypniastes. Unlike the enyapniastes which is always shown swimming actively in an effort to find another feeding spot on the bottom, This one seems to be be floating placidly in the water column and showing no interest in landing.

ChrisM said...

Cool! yes.. that's one from the Nautilus cruise.thanks!

Joseph Russo said...

ust kept to go in again and again! Jeff Dunham stand up Would defo buy again if lucky enough to go. Oh, by the way

a_miller said...

If anyone has any P. natatrix specimens in ethanol (75%or greater) id love to chat with them about a loan! It is my scientific "golden ticket" as well.