News / Victoria

Video: Batman of the deep blue sea

The underwater world has its very own batman. It carries the shape of the batman symbol comic fans know all too well, and it’s baffling scientists.

The mysterious creature, which made its way onto a Japanese television show last month, was found on a volcanic ridge offshore Vancouver island.

The associate director of science at NEPTUNE Canada, the world’s largest regional cabled undersea ocean network, says they’ve been consulting experts across the world hoping to identify the creature.

“It looks like a bat, more like the shape of the batman symbol, the tail kind of curves around with the wings,” Dr. Kim Juniper said. “We’ve been consulting experts for a year and a half and no one’s quite sure what it is.”

This is just one of the many mysterious creatures scientists come across in the deep sea, and that’s why Juniper is hoping NEPTUNE Canada’s new Marine Life Field Guide iBook will help them identify some of the creatures.

They’re hoping experts from around the world can chime in and help classify some of the 125 creatures documented in the iBook, which contain fact sheets, photos and video clips of underworld species. Only about 40 per cent of what scientists see underwater has been identified to date, said Juniper.

Being able to accurately identify some of these creatures is critical for scientists understanding of the underwater environment's changes and biodiversity as a whole.

“We know that on the edge of the continental slope, there’s a layer of ocean water which is very poor in oxygen, and that seems to be creeping up the slope and essentially limiting habitat for a lot of commercial fish species and essentially pushing a lot of species out of where they live,” he said.

“If we can accurately put names on things, we can actually over the next decades, really understand how the environment down there is changing.”

But for the general public who want a glimpse of the mysterious deep oceans, they can view videos captured by remotely operated submersibles going almost three kilometers underwater.

“We have a privileged window into the deep sea and wanted to share it with everyone,” said Juniper who described the iBook as a ‘birdbook for underwater animals’.

These sea pigs, which are another mysterious creature baffling scientists, have been tentatively identified as belonging to the Amperima or Periamma genera.

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