Hello, Sea Squirt! | God's World News
Hello, Sea Squirt!
News Shorts
Posted: February 16, 2024
  • Panda sea squirt RC25 SQ983 FCR Reuters
    Clavelina ossipandae, also called skeleton panda sea squirts, are seen underwater off Kumejima island in Japan. (Diving Shop Plus Alpha/HANDOUT via REUTERS)


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This Japanese species looks like a skeleton. Its black spots look like a panda’s. What do you think of the skeleton panda sea squirt? Is it cute? Or creepy?

Sea squirts are potato-shaped ocean animals. You can find them in every sea on the globe. Some live in shallows. Others live in the depths. Most are attached to a surface. (Think rocks, ships’ hulls, large shells, and the backs of crabs.)

The species is popular with divers in Japan. Other people saw photos online. They gave it a name. It is called “gaikotsu-panda-hoya.” That’s Japanese for “skeleton panda sea squirt.”

The tiny sea creature measures less than an inch long. Scientists had never studied it. Then on February 1, Japanese researchers published a new paper on the animal. The paper gave it an official scientific name: Clavelina ossipandae. “Clavelina” means “little bottle.” “Ossipandae” refers to its skeleton- and panda-like appearance.

 “The white parts that look like bones are the blood vessels that run horizontally through the sea squirts’gills,” says researcher Naohiro Hasegawa. “The black parts on the head that look like a panda’s eyes and nose are just a pattern.”

 Mr. Hasegawa first saw images of the skeleton panda sea squirt while browsing Twitter (now X) in 2018. “It was at that point that I realized it was probably quite rare because it looks different [than] the other sea squirts,” he says.

God’s creation is vast. It’s fascinating. And so much is still unexplored. That humbles us—and gives us plenty to look forward to.

Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; His understanding is beyond measure. — Psalm 147:5