Two divers came across something extraordinary during a recent excursion off the coast of New Zealand.
Resembling a long hollow windsock, this perplexing sea creature is actually not one, but hundreds of thousands of individual organisms that thrive together as a colony.
Known as pyrosomes, they can be found throughout the Pacific but rarely appear this large.
"Having never seen one in person or even footage or photos of one before, I was quite incredulous and elated that such a creature existed," said diver Andrew Buttle.
"It was very puzzling but also fantastic to be able to view it right up close and spend so much time with it. I believe it is possibly a pyrosome - occasionally they are caught in nets but not many intact large specimens have been caught to my knowledge."
"At times there can be blooms of thousands of small versions of these creatures in many parts of the world, but not something I had ever seen before."