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Hobgoblin from the depths

Hobgoblin from the depths

Seen from below, a creature between terrifying and unbelievable appears to fly by, with huge eyes and outstretched claws holding a clear parachute. Actually an inch long, this oceanic animal is a predatory relative of beach fleas called Phronima with a grisly habit: eating out the insides of gelatinous animals such as salps to make a transparent barrel for a shelter. This female, photographed during a 2006 voyage to Antarctica to study plankton ecology, carries pinkish eggs while grasping her barrel. When the eggs hatch, she will incubate her babies in the barrel. (Photo by Laurence Madin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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