The translucent -- and tubular -- creatures are actually called pyrosomes. They are appearing in unusually large numbers in western coastal waters from California to Alaska, posing serious problems for fisherman and puzzling scientists.
"There's been unusual things happening in the ocean," said Michael Milstein, a spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Pyrosomes are usually found in more tropical waters, but started to appear on the West Coast in 2014. They are made of many small multicellular organisms, "linked together in a tunic to form a tubelike colony that is closed on one end," according to a release from the Northwest Fisheries Science Center.
While no one knows for sure, the plethora of pyrosomes is most likely a result of a change in water temperature. "Somehow these guys drifted into the picture and multiplied ... it's still something of a puzzle," Milstein said.
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