Weird Creatures From the Deep
A massive census of the oceans has turned up a trove of strange marine wildlife, from jellyfish to octopuses to anemones
- By Jess Righthand
- Smithsonian.com, August 06, 2010
((photograph by I. MacDonald), Felder, D.L and Camp, D.K. (eds.) 2009. Gulf of Mexico - Origins, Waters, and Biota. Vol. 1. Biodiversity. Texas A&M Press, College Station, Texas.)
The roving Phronima sedentaria, a small crustacean, inhabits the hollowed-out bodies of dead barrel-shaped organisms called salps. The crustacean deposits its young on the salp barrel, in a phenomenon called demarsupiation. This unique creature is part of an imperiled community of aquatic organisms in the Gulf of Mexico, where poor water quality and habitat loss have weakened the ecosystem.