Four new species of single-cell organisms have been discovered in the depths of the Pacific.
The single-celled xenophyophores were found by researchers from the U.K.’s National Oceanography Center, the University of Hawaii and the University of Geneva in Switzerland.
The species were discovered using an underwater drone in the western Clarion Clipperton Zone, where the seabed is over 3 miles deep. The specimens, which were collected in 2018, were analyzed to reveal the new species.
The findings were published in the European Journal of Protistology.
The discovery involves four new species and two new genera. One genus has been named “Moanammina” after “Moana,” the Hawaiian word for ocean. The other was named “Abyssalia” after the “abyss”-like environment where it was discovered.
“We were excited to find these beautiful new xenophyophores,” said Andrew Gooday, professor at NOC and the study’s lead author, in a statement. “Xenophyophores are one of the most common types of large organism found on the CCZ abyssal plains, so the name of the second genus was chosen to reflect this.”
“The abundance and diversity of these giant single-celled organisms is truly amazing!” said oceanographer Craig Smith from the UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology in the statement.
The oceans continue to reveal their secrets. In a separate study released earlier this year, scientists announced the discovery of a 10-celled creature that can survive without oxygen. The parasite is a relative of jellyfish and corals.