It’s simply incredible how many amazing creatures there are underwater. We certainly can’t take a peek at this marvelous world every day, but underwater photographers can show it to us. Marine biologist and photographer Alexander Semenov has caught one such creature on camera. Sea angels live in large amounts in Arctic and Antarctic seas, and Alexander has captured their beauty in a series of amazing images.
On his website, Alexander explains that these pteropods include two completely different taxonomic groups. There are sea butterflies with hard shells (Thecosomata) and sea angels without shells (Gymnosomata). Interestingly enough, a larva of sea angel has a shell, but it is discarded as the creature develops. Shell or no shell, both these groups of pteropods share one distinctive feature, Alexander explains. “They swim using two large fins, or wings, which evolved from the crawling foot of an ancient snail.”
“Their fine translucent shells look like delicate glass artefacts which encase their pearly iridescent bodies covered in peculiar growths. They have unusual bright colours and are often absolutely tiny. These are but a few characteristics you can discover when studying pteropods. It is practically impossible to choose a typical representative of this group since each species has a special distinguishing feature.”
Alexander further explains that you can find pteropods in all seas of the World Ocean. However, there are huge swarms of them in the Arctic and Antarctic seas. In fact, Alexander says that their biomass surpasses that of the rest of the zooplankton combined! And naturally, these massive swarms attract whales which feed on plankton. “No wonder Nordic seafarers used to call these creatures simply ‘whale food,’” Alexander concludes.
[via Bored Panda]