The Big Salp (Salpa maxima)
Previously, we have seen a glass butterfly, as well as a glass frog. Transparency is a fascinating concept when it comes to animals. So now we are going to find out more about this invisible fish! There is not much information about it, but let's see what the science has in store for us.
Physical Description and Behavior
The most striking thing about this fish is the fact that is is almost entirely see-through. It is barrel-shaped and gelatinous, moving around by pumping water through its body. This is also how it eats, feeding on plankton that gets trapped in its filters when it moves.
One thing that they do that is striking is how they react when it comes to phytoplankton blooms. They create clones of themself when food is abundant, and then grow at a very rapid pace. It is for this reason that they are found pretty much all over the world. This is also why you might see them in chains.
The main issue with these filters is that sometimes they can become clogged. When that happens, the salp does and sinks to the ocean floor. It seems to be common to see many salps wash up on the beach using these blooms.
When they poop, these small pellets of carbon fall to the seafloor. This is one way that the Salp is very beneficial when it comes to carbon sequestration. However, as their habitat and food sources change, it can cause a huge negative effect when it comes to climate change.
Habitat and Location
They can be found near just about every shore on earth, focusing mainly on warmer climates. Due to there being not much known about it, they also have not been evaluated by the IUCN Red List. But the changing temperatures may have a negative effect on their population numbers.
Check out this video to see the Salpa Maxima close up!