Despite the extreme temperatures, the waters surrounding the continent at the South Pole are far from deserted, as lifeforms there are varied and include, for example, three-metre-long “invisible” predatory worms. One kind of below-the-ice creature has especially stunned the makers of a new BBC documentary.
An unusual creature has been filmed by the crew of a new series on Antarctica with its diverse and quirky wildlife, featuring TV star David Attenborough, who has exposed the various forms of life there.
The show’s creators set their cameras below the ice to shed light on the inhabitants of the Southern Ocean, which is swarming with life despite the harsh conditions above the ice, where temperatures fall far below zero.
According to famous naturalist Attenborough, “the frozen surface at sea hides a great secret”, as although the conditions are hostile above, the situation is more stable underneath the ice sheet, so the “life over millennia has had time to diversify”. One of the inhabitants of the unfriendly dark is a gigantic worm, invisible to the human eye. Only by using special equipment has the creature been brought into the spotlight.
However, another creature captured the presenter’s imagination even more. So-called nudibranchs compensate for their poor sight by having both female and male reproductive organs, which makes breeding easier for them.