Scanning the depths off the Philippines in 2007, an undersea robot beamed back video of a worm—or was it a squid, or a worm eating a squid?—with spiraling appendages, iridescent "oars," and a feathery "nose."
"When the image came onto the screen, everyone said, Oh my gosh, what's that?" recalled marine zoologist Laurence Madin of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.
Thanks to a new study co-authored by Madin, we now have the answer. The animal—as suspected—turned out to be a bizarrely bedecked marine worm totally new to science. (See marine-worm pictures.)
The paper, published Tuesday in the journal Biology Letters, describes the new species at length for the first time and officially christens the creature Teuthidodrilus samae, or "squid worm of the Sama"—the Sama being a culture with ties to Philippine islands not far from the discovery site.
Read more: "Flamboyant" New Squid Worm Surprises, Delights Experts