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Picture of the Day: Gorgon’s Head Coral

A new species (pictured) of gorgon’s-head coral–apparently named for its members’ resemblance to snake-haired Medusa and the other gorgons of Greek myth–was discovered just over a mile (1,700 feet) underwater.

The soft coral is one of many new animals found off Tasmania, Australia, by a recent expedition, scientists announced on January 18, 2009.

“There’s a whole suite of brand new communities down there. Some of them are really bizarre,” said Ron Thresher of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), which co-led the expedition with the California Institute of Technology.

The team’s findings include previously unknown sea spiders, giant sponges, and purple-spotted sea anemones.  [National Geographic]