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Scientists found a new species of long-tailed sea creatures off the coast of Japan

Published Jun 12th, 2024 9:21PM EDT
deep ocean with light coming in
Image: donfiore / Adobe

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A long-tailed sea creature first caught in 2011 has now been identified as a brand-new species. the specimen was found off the coast of Japan. At roughly three feet long, the creature isn’t massive by any means. For the past thirteen years or so, it has remained in storage at a museum, awaiting study. Now, scientists have finally taken a more in-depth look at it.

The creature has now been identified as Chimaera stellata. The researchers are also calling the stellated chimaera. They described it as a “large-sized” sea creature with a “stocky” body and a “long, whip-like” tail. Its head is also fairly large, with a short snout and two large eyes. This is far from the only recent newly discovered species. Just last year researchers also discovered a new species of ghost spiders.

long-tailed chimaera discovered off coast of JapanImage source: Akinori Teramura, et. al

The particular stellated chimaera that the researchers studied is walnut brown, according to photos shared in the study. However, the researchers note that it appears to have a “silvery tinge” to it in several places, as well as several white spots along its body. The long-tailed sea creature is just one of thousands of new species discovered each year.

The stellated chimaera was identified as a new species because DNA analysis shows that it has at least a five percent divergence in its genetic makeup compared to other species within the chimaera family. These findings are published in a new study featured in Ichthyological Research.

It’s a shame that this species has gone unnoticed for so long. Our oceans are one of the most unexplored places on the planet, and despite how much we have tried to explore them, there is still so much we don’t know about the various creatures that call it home. What do these long-tailed sea creatures eat to survive? How deep can they travel? These are all questions that researchers will undoubtedly want to answer now that they’ve uncovered the species.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.