The Census of Marine Life has just released a study of the ocean creatures living in the Arctic and the Antarctic with a startling revelation: 235 identical species thrive in the waters around the North and South Poles, despite the distance 11,000 kilometers between them.
The nemertean pelogonemertes rollestoni and its oddly shaped see-through stomach
While some of the animals migrate to the different areas from warmer seas (whales, birds, etc.) there are some creatures that are too small to migrate and thus are evidently identical species who are born and die in their separate poles. Obviously, this raises serious questions as to how these seemingly the exact same species managed to get literally to opposite sides of the Earth.
On a side note, hats off to the brave researchers who have been conducting these studies. The scientists collecting the samples often had to do so in harrowing conditions, amid icy, 16-foot waves and constant threat of hungry polar bears. Some even had to have armed guards to protect them from bears while conducting their research.
Genetic tests are underway to determine just how identical some of these species are. Got any ideas for how they might have gotten where they are? By all means, do share.
Gaetanus brevispinus – Common cold water crustacean
More pics below the fold…
Clione lamacina, swimming snail.
Another swimming snail, the Lamacina helicinia
Another shot of the famed Gaetanus brevispinus