One of my favorite bits about the new Ocean Exploration Wonders of the Deep gallery is the giant siphonophore (Praya dubia), a colony of individuals connected together that serve different functions such as eating, swimming, and reproducing. They are mid-water Cnidarians that get down to over 3,000 ft, though not nearly as deep as the abyssal plains which are at least 13,000 ft deep.

The top image is of the full 40 ft length in the pre-press pdf, though the colonial animal can reach up to 130 ft. Those funny blue squares are where live animal tanks go. The middle image is a closeup of the “head” (actually a nectosome) and the front part of the colony. And the last image is of the siphonophore in the context of the gallery. It’s a dark gallery so forgive me for the poor quality of the photo.

This is probably my favorite part, both for the fascination of the animal and also because I was illustrating this animal, I had a lot more flexibility with how it looked and with the ability to change the size according to more accurate measurements later in the exhibit process.

If you’re in the area, come and take a look at our new Ocean Exploration exhibit! All kinds of neat animals.