Researchers Discover Intricate Algae Plant That Resembles Mermaid’s ‘Umbrella’?

A strange but fascinating feature of this plant is that it's made up of one giant cell.

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Plant
Image via Screenshot, @Rainmaker1973 Twitter page

In August 20201, various news outlets reported that scientists had discovered a species of aquatic plant that resembles a mermaid’s umbrella.

According to the BBC, researchers discovered the species in India’s Andaman archipelago, which is in the northeastern Indian Ocean, also reporting:

Biologists found a marine green algae during a trip to the island in 2019.

Identification is laborious, and it took the scientists nearly two years to confirm that the species had been discovered for the first time.

“The newly discovered species is so stunning. It has caps with intricate designs as if it were umbrellas of a mermaid,” study leader Dr Felix Bast told the BBC.

Researchers at the Central University of Punjab named the species Acetabularia jalakanyakae. Acetabularia” refers to the genus of green algae plant the species falls under, while “jalakanyakae” means “mermaid” in Sanskrit.

According to the BBC, researchers were inspired to name the plant after “The Little Mermaid,” a story by Hans Christian Anderson that became a 1989 animated Disney movie.


Sources:

“Indian Scientists Discover ‘mermaid’ Plant Species.” BBC News, 17 Aug. 2021. www.bbc.com, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-58240416.