Ocean enthusiasts just discovered a two-headed sea creature, and it's mesmerizing.

In today's installment of fascinating marine biology news, something unusual has been discovered in the ocean. And it has two heads.


All images by Borneo from Below, used with permission.

It's called a nudibranch. More specifically, it's a two-headed nudibranch.

Borneo from Below is a cool weekly series about the beautiful marine life of Borneo, and they shared this unusual discovery with us.

What even is a nudibranch?! Basically, it's a sea slug.

We'll get back to the two-headed nudibranch in a minute. First, let's talk about the more common version of this creature — the one with a single head.National Geographic describes nudibranchs as follows:

"[T]hese shell-less mollusks, part of the sea slug family, bear some of the most fascinating shapes, sumptuous hues, and intricate patterns of any animal on Earth.

There are more than 3,000 known species of nudibranch, and new ones are being identified almost daily. They are found throughout the world's oceans, but are most abundant in shallow, tropical waters."

They're quite colorful.

They're like living pieces of artwork, really.

So mesmerizing.


They're pretty, right? But let's get back to the one with two heads.

Scientists have known about the many single-headed nudibranchs for a long time, but this two-headed nudibranch is a new discovery, found in August 2015.


Clay Bryce, a marine biologist of Western Australian Museum in Perth, is a nudibranch expert. He's spent over 10,000 hours underwater "chasing nudibranchs," and he says he'd never seen one before this.

"Usually this sort of deformity sets the animal up for an early death, but it does appear to be adult or at least subadult," Bryce told Borneo from Below. "So perhaps this is a case of two heads being better than one!"

Soooo, how'd the two heads happen? Bryce said it's basically a birth defect. It could be "just a slight mix-up in the genes or perhaps damage caused by pollution," although he would expect to see more of them if it was a result of pollution.

For now, we'll have to take it for what it is: an anomaly in nature, kind of like the occasional two-headed snake ... but less freaky and much prettier.

We should care about all ocean life given how important the ocean is to our survival. (Our oceans produce over half of the oxygen in our atmosphere!) But the ocean is also a fascinating mystery we're still learning more about every day. Learning what lurks beneath the waves is one way we can feel more connected to our oceans and our planet and our two-headed Nembrotha kubaryana friends.

You can watch the full video and see the discovery for yourself!

Heroes

Mom and blogger Mary Katherine Backstrom regularly shares snippets of life with her two children on her Facebook page. One particularly touching interaction with her daughter is melting hearts and blowing minds due to the three-year-old's wise words about forgiveness.

Even adults struggle with the concept of forgiveness. Entire books have been written about how and why to forgive those who have wronged us, but many still have a hard time getting it. Who would guess that a preschooler could encapsulate what forgiveness means in a handful of innocent words?

Keep Reading Show less
Family

California has a housing crisis. Rent is so astronomical, one San Francisco company is offering bunk bedsfor $1,200 a month; Google even pledged$1 billion to help tackle the issue in the Bay Area. But the person who might fix it for good? Kanye West.

The music mogul first announced his plan to build low-income housing on Twitter late last year.

"We're starting a Yeezy architecture arm called Yeezy home. We're looking for architects and industrial designers who want to make the world better," West tweeted.

Keep Reading Show less
Cities

The U.S. women's soccer team won the Women's World Cup, but the victory is marred by the fact that the team is currently fighting for equal pay. In soccer, the game is won by scoring points, but the fight for equal pay isn't as clearly winnable and the playing field isn't as even.

We live in a world where winning the World Cup is easier than winning equal pay, but co-captain Megan Rapinoe says there's one easy way fans can support the team: Go see games.

Some people argue the men's team deserves to get paid more because they are more successful and earn more money for the United States Soccer Federation. Pay depends on merchandise and ticket sales, and in general, men's sporting events tend to draw a bigger crowd than women's sporting events. It's not about sex, many argue; it's about the fact that people just prefer to see men play.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

You think you know someone pretty well when you spend years with them, but, as we've seen time and again, that's not always the case. And though many relationships don't get to a point where the producers of "Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?" start calling every day just to chat, the reality is that sometimes partners will reveal shocking things even after you thought you'd been all shocked out.

That's the case for one woman whose Reddit thread has recently gone viral. The 25-year-old, who's been with her boyfriend for five years, took to a forum for relationship advice to ask if it was normal that her seemingly cool and loving boyfriend recently revealed women shouldn't have a fundamental right. (And no, it's not abortion — although there are a lot of "otherwise best ever boyfriends" out there who want to deny women the rights to bodily autonomy, too.)

Keep Reading Show less
Recommended