We are extremely happy to be able to present this utterly unique creature to you. Scientists call it the Turritopsis Nutricula. We will clarify why we remain so excited to do so shortly.
Turritopsis Nutricula stays small in size, averaging only 0.18 inches (4.5 mm) across their bell-shaped body. They live throughout most of the world’s oceans. However, they most likely evolved as endemic to the Caribbean region.
Due to their tiny size quality photos remain rare. Turritopsis Nutricula forms a hydrozoan related to the jellyfish.
Turritopsis Nutricula Physical Characteristics
The adult Turritopsis Nutricula has between 80-90 short tentacles. These they typically use both for hunting and protection.
This species is what science calls a colonial life-form. Their bodies actually consist of numerous tiny, highly specialized individual creatures. These individual creatures have bonded together to form a composite entity. These individual component forms are literally incapable of living apart from the whole.
Turritopsis Nutricula Immortality
This animal is utterly unique in one very special respect.
It is the only known living creature that remains essentially immortal, in terms of lifespan. Of course, most get eaten eventually.
After the individual lives as an adult for an (apparently random) period of time, the (heretofore thought to be impossible) transformation occurs. This process is known as transdifferentiation. Initiated by a still unknown internally generated trigger, an incredible transformation takes place within the body of the Turritopsis Nutricula.
Every one of the composite creatures physically reverts back to their polyp stage. In essence; they physically revert to infants once again.
At this point, the Turritopsis Nutricula begins its life cycle again, essentially as a newborn. Studies of this remarkable creature are still in their early stages.
However, all indications are that this process can continue indefinitely. This effectively renders the creature immortal.