Name the animal

Here’s a tweet that Grania found. I’m pretty sure I know what this thing is (hint, it may not be an adult animal. . . ), but I’ll leave it to the readers to guess.


  1. Janet
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    A sea cucumber? Do we know the size?

  2. Mark Reaume
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Hard to tell the size, and egg sac of some sort?

  3. Leslie
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Janet in post # 1.

  4. BobTerrace
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink


  5. busterggi
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Its a salp chain

  6. Dan Paslawski
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Looks like a gummy worm to me

    • BobTerrace
      Posted March 21, 2017 at 1:34 pm | Permalink


  7. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I vote a salp. here is one like it:

    • Janet
      Posted March 21, 2017 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      It sure does look like a salp (though I would have liked to vote for the gummy worm hypothesis, flavor lemon-lime). I have never heard of a salp, thanks to busterggi and Mark Sturtevant for the introduction.

      • Dave
        Posted March 21, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        I think the salp explanation is almost right, but I believe this is actually a Pyrosome, which consists of a planktonic colony of tiny, salp-like animals encased in a common gelatinous matrix. The whole structure is shaped basically like a windsock, open at one end and with a large central cavity. The individual salp-like zooids pump water from the exterior surface and expel it into the cavity of the ‘sock’, thereby driving the whole structure along.

        There’s no scale on the photo (I wish people would give this information when they pose these ‘what is it?’ teasers), but this one looks to be quite small, I would guess maybe 20 cm or so. However, really big colonies can be several metres long. As the ‘fire body’ name suggests, pyrosomes are famously bioluminescent.

        I sure hope I’ve got this one right. I’m a professional marine biologist so I’m supposed to know this stuff!

        • Posted March 21, 2017 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

          Sorry I didn’t give a scale, but really? Those things were about as long as the tip of my index finger. Please read the Roolz part about not telling me how to post.

          It’s not 20 cm long by any means. More like 2 cm.

          • Dave
            Posted March 21, 2017 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

            Apologies, my scale comment was referring to Van Gogh or whoever that is, who I assumed was the one posting the query. When you’re re-posting a tweet that Grania found, which seems to have been created by a third party I easily lose track of the chain of transmission. I didn’t realise that you’d seen this thing yourself.

            As for the critter, by “those things” do you refer to the entire object shown in the photo, or to the individual units that it seems to consist of? If the entire thing is 2 cm long, then it could easily be a small pyrosome colony. If the units in it are that size, then that’s far too large for pyrosome zooids, and I would change my ID to an egg mass of some kind.

            • Posted March 21, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

              I tbink it’s a molluscan egg mass, and by “think” I mean “Matthew suggested that”!

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted March 21, 2017 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

            I think Dave’s comment about giving a scale was directed at the original poster of the photo.

            But in that respect he has a good point. It looked about six inches long to me, but maybe it isn’t.


  8. ladyatheist
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 3:57 pm | Permalink


  9. alexandra Moffat
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    trump’s brain?

    • Alan Parker
      Posted March 21, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Too big 🙂

  10. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    I believe the French name for this is “déjeuner”?

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