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Image Gallery: Mysterious Ocean-Dwelling 'Mushrooms'

Magic mushrooms

Dendrogramma

(Image credit: Jean Just/PLOS One)

These weird creatures are two new species caught 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) below the ocean surface offshore of southeast Australia. A new taxonomic family was created to classify the primitive animals.

Two new species

Dendrogramma discoides

(Image credit: Jean Just/PLOS One)

Dendrogramma discoides, seen here, has a smaller stalk and disc than the other new Dendrogramma species.

An ocean chanterelle?

Dendrogramma side view

(Image credit: Jean Just/PLOS One)

The new species resembles an ocean-dwelling mushroom.

Primitive life

Dendrogramma enigmatica

(Image credit: Jean Just/PLOS One)

Dendrogramma enigmatica, shown here, has a single gut for eating food and excreting waste.

Deep-sea mystery

Dendrogramma enigmatica

(Image credit: Jean Just/PLOS One)

The animals have no stinging cells, tentacles or cilia. The lack of these features prevents a link with true jellyfish and comb jellies.

From the inside

Dendrogramma enigmatica

(Image credit: Jean Just/PLOS One)

An inside view of Dendrogramma enigmatica, after the stalk was sliced in half.