Is this the ugliest creature beneath the waves? Say hello to the plump pink sea pig

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Sea pigs are usually found in groups of
300 to 600 on ocean floors all over the world

Depending on your point of view, this alien-looking entity might resemble a potato that’s been left in the cupboard too long and sprouted shoots. You could mistake it for a fat slug with legs. You might even think it’s cute.

But these fascinating creatures are sea pigs, and they lives 1,000 metres down on the deep sea bed. The bizarre looking life forms are scotoplanes, but earned their nicknames because of their little legs and plump, pinkish appearance.

However, the ‘legs’, arranged in a circular row around the its base, are actually elongated feet which are used to push food into their mouths. Sea pigs feed on organic particles which they extract from deep sea mud and studies have shown a particular taste for food that has freshly fallen from the ocean’s surface. And what might appear to be antennae on the front of the head are also actually feet, which help them tread water in the oceans of the world. About the right size to hold in the open palm of your hand, sea pigs are classified as Holothurians from a division of creatures called Echinodermata, popularly known as sea cucumbers.

They live alongside starfish, coral, clams, sponges and sea urchins and thrive best on the abyssal plains of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.

Scientists from the New Zealand’s National Institute Of Water And Atmospheric Pressure (NIWA) collected 30,000 deep sea animals including the sea pigs during a marine census of southern Antarctica.

Sea pigs abound in most parts of the world but not in the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean or eastern part of Pacific Ocean, or in central and South America.

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