Ghostly eel-like sea beast that’s almost totally transparent spotted by stunned divers – World News

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A diver captured stunning footage of a ghostly eel-like sea creature, who appears to be almost see-through.

Amy Wainman, 36, from Cape Town, was swimming off Simon’s Town in South Africa’s Western Cape when she captured the bizarre creature on camera.

In Amy’s footage, the creature – whose transparent body appears to be devoid of any major organs – is seen undulating through the water. Amy said it was unlike anything she’d ever seen before.

“When I first saw it, it almost looked like some floating plastic,” she said.

“But then it started swimming. It was like a dancing, clear ribbon.

“I had no idea what it was, I had never even seen a picture of one before. It was an amazing, magical creature to see!”








A diver encounters a ghostly eel-like creature that is almost totally transparent
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Image:

Credit: Amy Wainman/Pen News)









The bizarre sea creature was photographed off South Africa’s Western Cape
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Image:

Credit: Amy Wainman/Pen News)


Bradley Stevens, a retired marine science professor, formerly of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, has suggested that the footage shows an eel larva at the end of its larval stage.

He said: “Its size and location suggest that it is nearing the end of its migration from the mid-oceanic spawning grounds, and will soon become a normal-shaped juvenile eel.”

However Kevin Kocot, an associate professor at The University of Alabama specialising in invertebrate zoology, believes it’s actually a “very unusual” type of jelly.








Amy said the creature was unlike anything she’d ever seen before
(

Image:

Credit: Amy Wainman/Pen News)


He said: “Some baby eels have larvae called leptocephalus larvae that look superficially very similar.

“But if you look closely, they have a head and mouth at one end whereas this animal’s mouth is in the middle of the body.

“This is a cestum veneris, a very unusual comb jelly or ctenophore.

“Most comb jellies are more-or-less rounded in shape and swim with ‘combs’ – rows of cilia – but this species (and one other in the family) swims by undulating muscles like a ribbon.”







Amy believes she’ll never see a creature like it again

Dr Kocot said that the creature, better known as a Venus girdle, survives on a diet of “various planktonic animals like little crustaceans and fish fry”.

He said: “This one looks like it has a mouth full of food, but I can’t make out what it’s got from the video.”

He added that they are safe to touch, but not to eat, and that they reproduce by laying many tiny eggs.

For Amy, the experience was one of a kind.

“It was the first and last time I have ever seen one,” she said.

“It was something very special to see; I have snorkelled all over the world so it was great to see something so cool in my hometown. I hope I will see one again someday.

“It was an unusual day of snorkelling as we actually saw several different types of comb jellies that we had never seen and have not seen since.”

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