The Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Australia is home to tens of thousands of unique and interesting living creatures. It is home to an estimated 1500 species of fish, over 300 different types of corals, more than 500 species of seaweed and aquatic plant life, plus hundreds of echinoderms like starfish and sea cucumbers. In addition to all of that, the Great Barrier Reef is also home to thousands of whales, dolphins, turtles, shark, snakes and other mammals and reptiles. And above water you’ll find hundreds of different types of birds as well.
Stretching more than 1600 miles, the Great Barrier Reef is located off the Eastern Coast of Queensland. It is considered a living organism and possibly the most important ecosystem on the planet. The amazing thing about the Great Barrier Reef is that new species are being discovered there every year. Scientists continue to find creatures and organisms that were previous unknown to the world. Here are some of the more recent discoveries found in the Great Barrier Reef.
The Green-Banded Snapping Shrimp is an unusual shrimp looking animal with a large crab-like claw. Small with green and white coloring, the shrimp has all the typical characteristics of a salt-water shrimp except for the one exceptionally large claw. Scientists are studying this newly discovered creature to see what its origins are and what use the large claw might serve.
The Nudibranch Sea Slug has pretty purple colors with reddish-orange antenna and branches. It lives mostly on the sea floor and resembles coral when sitting motionless. Scientists are studying this new creature to learn more about its feeding habits and natural camouflage.
The Luminous Comb Jellyfish looks more like something from outer space than underwater. It is bioluminescent which means it has the ability to emit different colored lights through its body. Like most jellyfish it is gelatinous and see-through with no bones in its body. However it does lack the usual tentacles and stingers most jellyfish possess. A specimen has been captured and is being studied by marine biologists.
These are just a few of the many newly discovered creatures in The Great Barrier Reef. Scientists and marine biologists have also found new species of echinoderms, plant life, coral, and invertebrates. Unfortunately as we continue to discover new life forms, many others are in danger of going extinct. This is why it is important that we do more about global warming and continue to protect this jewel of the sea, The Great Barrier Reef.