Our guests meet Pyrosomes
Yesterday our guests saw something very unusual… something so unusual that our Marine Biologist had not seen it in the two years that he has worked in the Maldives; a Pyrosome.
Difficult to bump into, bizarre, huge and “glow in the dark”; these are some words to describe a Pyrosome. One scientist even joked that they are the unicorns of the sea as they are so mysterious. So what are they?
A Pyrosome does not look like a unicorn, rather like a giant, hollow sausage, with a large opening at one end.
Each sea squirt sucks the water in, in order to filter feed, and blows the water out into the hollow cavity inside the pyrosome. The overall process of this filter feeding and pumping of the water into the pyrosome sausage, creates an outflow of water at the open end of the sausage; a steady jet propulsion system, which allows the animal to move to a certain extent.
The name “pyrosome” derives from the Greek words pyros meaning ‘fire’ and soma meaning ‘body’. Why fire? Well it’s because at night, if disturbed, the pyrosome emits blue-green bioluminescence (glows in the dark)…