This 20-Foot Tube of Goo is Alive!

Giant Pyrosome--screen shot captured from video by eaglehawkDive.com.au

Giant Pyrosome–screen shot captured from video by eaglehawkDive.com.au (see link below)

It might look like the jellyfish that ate New York (or could have) but it’s more closely related to humans.

We found this video of salps and pyrosomes that are way bigger than the scuba divers who found them. The pyrosome in the photo moves through the water by pulling water in one end and forcing it out the other. You can think of it kind of like the jet drive of a jet ski. All pyrosomes, and some salps are not actually single individuals. They’re made up of thousands of tiny tunicates, which are basically gelatinous sacs with a mouth and a digestive system that leads to the other end. Each tunicate also has a heart and a brain and most of the other organs people can’t live without. Jelly fish have none of those things.

Like people, tunicates begin life with something resembling a spinal chord–a bundle of nerve fibers connecting a brain with different organs, and a rod of cartilage that supports the nerve cord.

That’s what puts them in the phylum Chordata along with humans. Jellyfish are in the phylum Cnidaria.

Now check out the video. . .

Find out about salps and an amazing life cycle at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Learn more about tunicates here >>