- Dendrogramma forms the name of a rather unique genus only created in 2014.
- This occurred following the joint discovery of two extremely unusual species which spurred the creation of this new genus.
- The two unique species’ discovery was actually in 1986. However, scientists did not realize that the two individuals constituted an entirely new genus until 28 years later.
- The Dendrogramma appear so physically unique that scientists are not even certain how to classify them.
- So far, tentative efforts at classification place them as animals, pending further research into the species’ unusual physiology.
- Understandably, quality photos of these creatures remain extremely rare.
Dendrogramma Physical Characteristics
Both known Dendrogramma species’ appearance resembles that of a mushroom. The stalks average approximately 0.3 in (8 mm) in length. The disk-shaped structure is about 0.7 in (17 mm) in diameter. They also seem to be free-floating creatures.
The mouth sits at the end of the stalk, seems quite small, and the manner of feeding remains a mystery. The digestive tract branches in many directions.
So far, scientists have not identified any nervous system or sexual organs of any kind within the rather remarkable creatures. Also, no method of voluntary locomotion has yet been identified.
Dendrogramma Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Currently, scientists also remain uncertain as to the full extent of the distribution of the surprising Dendrogramma.
Researchers collected these in two separate groups, at two separate depths. These depths were 1,300 ft (400 m) and 3,300 ft (1,000 m).
A later expedition to the same region discovered 85 individual specimens. This subsequently allowed for more extensive research. To date, however, much about its unique biology remains a mystery.
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