Marine scientists find bizarre creatures in Australian reefsSeptember 19th, 2008 - 12:48 pm ICT by ANI
Canberra, September 19 (ANI): A team of marine scientists has found hundreds of new lifeforms, which includes some bizarre creatures, on Lizard and Heron islands on the Great Barrier Reef and Ningaloo Reef off Western Australia.
According to a report carried out in www.news.com.au , the research project has taken four years and revealed some strange creatures.
Among those found was a tongue biter parasite that eats the tongues of host fish and then essentially becomes the new tongue by attaching itself to the fishs mouth.
The study also found hundreds of previously unknown soft corals, brightly coloured jellyfish, crabs and other creatures they believe may hold the key to curing some human diseases.
Coral researchers said that the discoveries are just a tiny fraction of an estimated 9 million species of coral yet to be found and identified.
The project, known as the Census of Marine Life, will release its final findings in 2010.
But, chief scientist Ron ODor said that hundreds of thousands of forms of life remained to be discovered.
Amazingly colourful corals and fishes on reefs have long dazzled divers, he said. But our eyes are just opening to the astonishing richness of other life forms in these habitats, he added.
Knowledge of this ocean diversity matters on many levels, including possibly human health - one of these creatures may have properties of enormous value to humanity, he added.
According to Dr Nancy Knowlton of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, the new Australian expeditions revealed how far we are from knowing how many species live in coral reefs around the globe.
Estimates span the huge range from one to 9 million, she said.
The Australian studies discovered about 300 soft coral species and dozens of crustaceans - some with whip-like back legs and claws longer than their bodies.
Some of these species are believed to be previously unknown to science.
They also documented the cassiopeia jellyfish, which turns upside down and waves its tentacles in the air so algae living on it can capture sunlight for photosynthesis.
Also recorded were various isopods, or small crustaceans often referred to as vultures of the sea, because some feed on dead fish.
One species, cymothoidae, burrow into the flesh of live fish and eat their tongues out, the team said. (ANI)
- Coral reefs will survive ravages of warming: Scientists - Apr 17, 2012
- High acidity levels in oceans harming marine life - Dec 05, 2010
- Warming climate damaging reefs, impacting fish - Jul 11, 2012
- Study finds how sea urchins affect coral reefs' growth - Jan 15, 2011
- Weed-eating fish key to reef's survival - Mar 11, 2011
- Gujarat coral reefs a virtual gold mine - Mar 27, 2011
- Fish help coral coral reefs recover - Nov 14, 2011
- Climate change forces mirgration of Australian tropical fish - Aug 17, 2012
- Weed-eating fish 'vital to coral reefs' survival' - Mar 11, 2011
- Humans increasingly poisoned by reef fish - Sep 11, 2012
- 'Stress test' to identify 'reefs of hope' in climate change era - Mar 23, 2011
- 10 coral species may vanish within 50 years - Jan 12, 2011
- World's reef fish systems threatened by human overpopulation - Apr 06, 2011
- Some corals unfazed by global warming - Mar 13, 2012
- Marine life faces large-scale extinction risk - Aug 22, 2012
Tags: astonishing richness, bizarre creatures, cassi, chief scientist, coral reefs, coral researchers, coral species, diversity matters, great barrier reef, host fish, human diseases, islands on the great barrier reef, lifeforms, marine scientists, ningaloo reef, smithsonian institution, soft corals, strange creatures, tiny fraction, tongue biter