'Skeleton panda' creature discovered in Japanese waters — New species

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A screengrab from a video showing Clavelina Ossipandae also known as Skeleton Panda Sea Squirt. — Youtube/@WNCT-TV 9 On Your Side
A screengrab from a video showing Clavelina Ossipandae also known as "Skeleton Panda Sea Squirt". — Youtube/@WNCT-TV 9 On Your Side

A unique sea creature with panda-like markings and a skeleton-like body has been discovered in the waters of Kumejima Island in Japan. It has officially been registered as a new species and named "Clavelina Ossipandae", Next Shark reported.

The Latin name Clavelina means "little bottle," and Ossipandae refers to its skeleton and panda-like features. It is less than an inch in size.

The water animal first captured the attention of scientists when a group of divers found it in Okinawa Prefecture. It was labelled "Skeleton Panda Sea Squirt" by some Japanese netizens affectionately due to its black-and-white markings.

The study was led by third-year doctoral student Naohiro Hasegawa from Hokkaido University and published in the Journal of Species Diversity. He collected specimens and samples for analysis of the creature’s morphology and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

"The white parts that look like bones are the blood vessels that run horizontally through the sea squirts' gills," the researchers noted. "The black parts on the head that look like a panda's eyes and nose are just a pattern, and we don't really know why the pattern is there."