Australia's coast is no stranger to bizarre and beautiful creatures. From habitats like the Great Barrier Reef to the Ningaloo Marine Park, Australia's coastal waters are teeming with an abundance of diverse and sometimes strange lifeforms.
Scientists aboard the research vessel Falkor recently made an astonishing discovery near the Ningaloo reef that was 'seemingly the largest animal ever discovered'. The creature they were referring to was a 150-foot-long siphonophore.
Unless you're a marine biologist or have watched hours upon hours of David Attenborough documentaries, you probably don't know what a siphonophore is. So let us break it down for you.
While at first glance this amazing creature may look like one very long, albeit skinny animal, it is in fact classified as a colonial organism. Meaning it is made of up hundreds if not thousands of smaller animals known as zooids that work together to allow the entire colony to function as one being. From digesting food to attracting prey to reproducing, each zooid performs a specific function for the colony.
This finding of a 150-foot-long (45 metres) siphonophore sets a new record for the longest creature ever discovered. Even though it isn't technically a single animal, it's still very impressive.
These researches have made numerous other discoveries in the deep underwater caves off Australia's western coast. Using a remotely operated vehicle, they have been able to explore and collect samples in areas that have never before been touched by man.
Who knows what amazing other discoveries they may come across as they explore the deepest darkest corners of the oceans that are only now being brought into the light.
Check out our video to see the stunning footage of the huge and beautiful siphonophore.