Purple Orb Discovered in Channel Islands Could be New Nudibranch Species

Posted on July 27, 2016

Purple Orb Channel Island

This unique looking purple orb stumped scientist onboard the Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus. The researchers have been exploring the ocean floor around the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary of California.

The purple orb looks spherical in the photograph and video but the scientists say in a post that it later began to unfold to reveal two distinct lobes. They say it could be a new species of nudibranch, a shell-less marine gastropod mollusk. Some of these creatures can be very colorful.

One of the scientists call it "blobous purpleous" in the video. They initially speculated it could be a tunicate or an egg sac of some kind. A crab knocked the orb while the scientists were observing it. Take a look:



Photo: Ocean Exploration Trust