Mysterious glow-in-the-dark sea creature shaped like a mini saxophone washes up on the shores of Sydney Harbour
- Bizarre ‘sea pen’ creature found in Sydney Harbour
- Wildlife experts were quick to identify the animal
A bizarre, alien-like creature has mystified an exploring local after it washed up covered in a glowing slime.
The yellow oddity, that looked like a mini saxophone and was covered in hollow polyps and a clear slime, was spotted on the shores of Sydney Harbour on Wednesday.
The Sydney resident who found the creature turned to the internet to ask for help, revealing their hands had been covered in a a thick, glow-in-the-dark goo when they tried to grab it.
A number of scientists quickly stepped up to help, revealing the creature was a sea pen – a marine invertebrate common below the surface of Sydney Harbour.
The internet went on a hunt to identify the ‘saxophone’-looking creature
Sea pens are quite common beneath the eastern shore of the harbour
Sea Pen Facts
They are found in sandy seafloors and muddy bottoms, in depths from 13.7m to 68.5m
Their diet primarily consists of drifting plankton
Sea Pens are related to sea pansies, sea whips and sea feathers
Can grow up to 46cm
Each sea pen is a colony of polyps (small anemonelike individuals) working together for the survival of the whole. The primary polyp loses its tentacles and becomes the stalk of the sea pen, with a bulb at its base — the bulb anchors the sea pen in the muddy or sandy bottom
When disturbed, a sea pen forces water out of its colony, making it possible for the sea pen to retreat into its bulbous foot
Australian Museum’s marine invertebrates head Professor Shane Ahyong confirmed what type of creature it was.
‘They are relatively common in the eastern part of the harbour, well below the tideline, and so are usually only seen by snorkellers and divers,’ Dr Ahyong told Yahoo.
The sea pen in question had notable bumps on the bottom of it and a long stalk, with the way it was laid on cement in the photo closely resembling a saxophone’s shape.
The most popular guess on Reddit, where the photo was originally posted, incorrectly labelled the creature as a sea tulip, with others joking about its size and shape.
‘That’s a sea sax,’ one said.
Another joked it was a horcrux buried beneath Sydney Harbour Bridge.
‘That’s Voldemort’s wand,’ the user said, referencing the popular Harry Potter series.
Sea pens do not live above the water and usually make their home in muddy sand beds like those found at the bottom of the harbour.
The animals are also bioluminescent with their glowing slime used to ward off predators.
The slime is completely harmless to humans.
Their diet primarily consists of drifting plankton and their glow wards off predators
A local Sydneysider found the sea pen along Sydney’s Harbour