Meet the incarnation of the deity overseeing the Flying Spaghetti Monster Church.
Only this pasta-bowl looking creature dwells in the deep-sea off the coast of Angola and is in fact a critter identified as Bathyphysa conifer.
Going about their daily chores, workers with the BP oil company saw this strange looking creature and captured some footage of the wobbly deep-sea spaghetti monster using a ROV submerged at 4,000 feet.
Making use of this footage, the creature was identified by researchers with the National Oceanography Center in Southampton, England as a siphonophore. This class of marine creatures are related to the corals and jellyfish, but certainly far more oddly looking than any of them.
The deep-sea spaghetti monster is in fact a colonial animal, if we pay attention to the website dedicated to these fascinating creatures, developed by associate professor of evolutionary biology and ecology with the Brown University, Rhode Island – Casey Dunn.
What does a colonial animal mean? It means that this one creature is in fact more multicellular organisms, dubbed zooids. They survive and function together, and on one body, they even have different functions.
Some zooids are specialized on feeding, others are specialized on reproducing, while others are just hanging around. According to the same website, in the case of B. conifer, zooids have different functions according to the part of the body where they each are located.
What you identify in the image as the big blob, is nothing more than a gas-filled float, dubbed pneumatophore.
The second part of the ‘body’ of the B. conifer is called a siphosome. Here, zooids are responsible for feeding the colonial animal and for reproducing. It seems that B. conifer lacks a third part of the body dubbed nectosome which would comprise zooids responsible for motility.
The rebel spaghetties or zooids that are not neatly wrapped in the larger body are specifically called gastrozooids.
According to Catriona Munro, Ph.D student at Brown University, our deep-sea spaghetti monster is a specific type of siphonophore, belonging to the suborder Cystonectae. And, surprise, it is a rare sight.
Very few specimens have been described, but reaching it in the natural habitat is a fairly hard task.
Luckily, the ROV footage was released to reveal its intricate and fascinating shape to the world.
Photo Credits: Discovery News