What is this mysterious purple underwater 'orb'?

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 This strange 'orb' was discovered underwater in the Channel Islands. Image by Ocean Exploration Trust. This strange 'orb' was discovered underwater in the Channel Islands. Image by Ocean Exploration Trust.
This strange 'orb' was discovered underwater in the Channel Islands. Image by Ocean Exploration Trust.

This unidentified purple orb stumped scientists on board the Nautilus research vessel during a mission to explore the deep sea around the Channel Islands.


Researchers with the Ocean Exploration Trust managed to collect the unusual looking ‘blob’ for sampling using a special suction device.   

To their surprise, the blob later began to unfold to reveal two distinct lobes. After consulting with on shore scientists, the team thinks it may be a pleurobranch, a close relation to the nudibranch. Currently none of the known species of California deep-sea pleurobranchs are purple, and so this could be a new species.

You can watch a video of the mystery creature’s discovery and collection below: