Mysterious jelly-like aliens that create clones of themselves litter beach

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    An alien-like sea creature caused a stir on an Australian beach after washing up on its shore in vast numbers.

    The animals were mostly translucent and cylindrical with glowing red bulbs on one end of their bodies, with amateur wildlife spotters left scratching their heads as to what the beasts could be.

    Tasmania resident Julie first found the strange beings while walking on her local beach on Sunday (May 28) and posted snaps to the Field Naturalists of Tasmania Facebook group in a bid to identify the animals – and finally seemed to get some answers.

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    Although the species looks a bit like a jellyfish, the creature was actually identified as a Sea Salp which, according to the Australian Museum, is more closely related to vertebrates like humans.

    The animals have some pretty cool features, too – they grow faster than any other multi-cellular animal and switch between two life cycles, sexual and asexual.

    When they're in their asexual phase, the creatures survive off phytoplankton and algae that they ingest through their feeding tube.

    But Julie's snaps show the Salps during their sexual stage where they can create hundreds of clones of themselves.

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    Each clone takes just 48 hours to reach maturity and grows in size by an eye-watering 10% every hour.

    The bizarre creatures are found in oceans across the globe but are more common in the southern hemisphere.

    Their incredibly powerful jet propulsion system uses a rear-facing siphon, which they power by refilling with water from a forward-facing siphon, allowing them to race through the ocean at top speeds.

    They are also crucial for the survival of their ecosystems and can limit the number of algal blooms in their habitat by eating them.

    They're no apex predator, however – they are also a food source for other sea creatures such as turtles and fish, as they're made up of around 95% water.

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    • Animals
    • Australia
    • Alien

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