New luminous creatures discovered in the Red Sea

Moscow, Feb 8 (IANS) An international team of biologists has discovered a new species of luminous fauna in the Red Sea.

The research also showed that the localisation of glow in certain parts of the body can help to distinguish different species of organisms that have identical structure.

During the investigations of the biodiversity of coral reefs of the archipelago Farasan (Saudi Arabia, south of the Red Sea), biologists found what they have termed “fluorescent lanterns,” that were very similar to hydrae.

But unlike their distant relatives who lead a solitary life in fresh water, the new species from the Red Sea form spreading colonies decorating miniature shells of a sea snail with garlands of green lights.

“Sea hydroids, unlike hydrae, are often found in colonies and canbranch off tiny jellyfish,” said one of the study authors Vyacheslav Ivanenko from Moscow State University in Russia.

“The unusual green glow of these hydrozoas (presumably, a new species of the genus Cytaeis) was revealed in the peristomal area of the body,” Ivanenko noted.

The researchers suggested that glow around the mouth of polyps may attract prey.

The results of the study were published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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