The choppy footage taken by a student at the University of British Columbia shows us images of a creature unfamiliar to most, writhing its body as it moves across the screen…
The semi-transparent form of this creature with its eight (yes EIGHT!) miscellaneous limbs is enough to strike fear in the heart of any casual observer… and it flashes across the screen like a modern day alien sighting…
Its two sets of threatening claws have the fearsome name “gnathopods”, and are well equipped to hunt down victims of their attack… (typically teeny tiny microscopic organisms.)
BUT this is not just some extraterrestrial visitor…and it is not alone.
Students found dozens of such animals, and even brought them back into the classroom!
See more footage below, as dozens of such animals thrash around, hungry for
the flesh of their enemies microscopic algae and little bits of marine waste.
Turns out that our waters are crawling with these alien-esque individuals. In fact they are found in oceans worldwide, particularly close to shore…
YOU TOO could make this shocking discovery, all you have to do is….LOOK DOWN!
Down off the sides of docks at your local marina you will find a world crawling with these individuals! They are called CAPRELLIDS, and while videos may portray them as a terrifying beast the truth is… they’re pretty teeny, pretty harmless, and maybe even pretty cute.
Caprellids cling to whatever they can get their hands on, typically plant life and other slender invertebrates called Obelia. From their perch they swing their bodies in the water column to capture prey (and the attention of the any observant individual wandering around the marina!)
Researchers at the University of British Columbia have developed a guide that you can use to try and identify exactly which fascinating critter you are checking out when you’re hanging your head off the side of your local marina that you can find here!
Along with showing you their dance moves, the caprellids you find along the dock may also show their gentle caring side:
In our lab we saw just this when we observed gravid (pregnant) females closely to see their little fluttering “brood pouches” where they hold tight onto their growing babies. Of course these young are produced through an elegant romantic mating… after which they occasionally KILL THEIR MATE WITH A POISON CLAW!
…maybe this murderous little critter IS just as terrifying as we thought.