Scientists have discovered a 50-meter colony of zooids in the ocean near Australia. This is stated in the account on Twitter by a professor at the University of North Carolina Asheville.
A zooid is one organism that is part of a large living colony. This lifestyle was adopted by animals from separate unrelated taxa. Zooids are multicellular; their structure is similar to that of other single animals. Zooids can be connected to each other by tissue or even have a common exoskeleton. In fact, each zooid is both a unique organism and a small part of a huge living organism.
Check out this beautiful *giant* siphonophore Apolemia recorded on #NingalooCanyons expedition. It seems likely that this specimen is the largest ever recorded, and in strange UFO-like feeding posture. Thanks @Caseywdunn for info @wamuseum @GeoscienceAus @CurtinUni @Scripps_Ocean pic.twitter.com/QirkIWDu6S
— Schmidt Ocean (@SchmidtOcean) April 6, 2020
The Ningaloo Canyons expedition recently encountered one of these colonies, studying the virtually unexplored, but biologically rich part of the ocean off the coast of Western Australia. The colony is made up entirely of tiny jellyfish.
Some of the clones specialize in catching prey. Their slender bodies hang with a single long tentacle dangling like a hook-studded fishing line. Like the frilled tentacles of another siphonophore pictured below…
(pic: @SchmidtOcean https://t.co/UIJt6aLSNn) pic.twitter.com/7nDOKFqSUZ
— Open Ocean Exploration (@RebeccaRHelm) April 6, 2020
The size of the found colony of zooids is at least 50 meters. It consists of at least a million organisms interconnected. They share prey with each other, passing nutrients along the main stem to which they are all connected – the vertical branch, which also serves as a passage for nerve signals.