What would you do it you meet a giant sea creature while diving?
Now, what if you meet a giant pyrosome, what would you do?
Pyrosomes are actually not a single animal but are made up of thousands of individual zooids with varying sizes. This colony of zooids is joined together by gelatinous materials that allows the “worm” to move freely in the water to search for food.
It’s so rare to spot pyrosomes that marine biologist Rebecca Helm calls them the unicorns of the ocean. While one pyrosome looks like a single worm-like creature, it’s actually a colony of hundreds to thousands of individuals called zooids, cloned from one egg and bound together in a cylindrical tunicate.
Diver Ryan Carpenter’s video was originally labeled as an interaction with a pyrosome. But after it went viral, marine biologist Rebecca Helm weighed in. A Ph.D. candidate at Brown University who has herself encountered a pyrosome, she thinks this particular sighting was not a pyrosome, but rather the egg case of a diamond-shaped squid.
My professional opinion? This video is not of a pyrosome. But does this make it less exciting? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
she wrote on Deep Sea News. “If anything, this is more exciting. These egg masses are incredibly rare. … If I were there I would have been screaming with joy through my regulator.”
According to Ryan Carpenter who uploaded the video on YouTube, they were swimming in the waters around Ticao Island in Masbate, Philippines when they met this gentle giant and decided to have some fun riding this rather rare sea creature.
Although it looks a bit creepy, this giant is actually harmless to people.
The pyrosome seen in Carpenter’s video was about 4 feet long and 4-5 inches in diameter, according to The Telegraph, but they can grow up to 60 feet long with a diameter wide enough to fit an adult human inside, Helm wrote in Deep Sea News.
They’re also “delicate and fluffy,” she added. One diver described a pyrosome saying, “It felt like an exquisitely soft feather boa.”
After the video went viral, Ryan update the video description, saying the “creature” was most likely a giant squid egg mass based on a comment from a viewer and online date showing photos similar to the giant they found in the water.
Well, the giant squid egg mass or giant pyrosome, this was still quite awesome!