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 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: