Salps are sometimes mistaken for jellyfish. However, a salp is a tunicate, they do not sting and are totally harmless. Newly born salps are hermaphroditic clones linked together like a chain that is anywhere from one to 50 feet long, depending on the species of salp.
Eventually, the chain breaks apart and the individual clones become female, carrying only a single egg until a male from an earlier generation fertilizes her egg to create an embryo. As the embryo grows inside the mother, she develops testes and begins fertilizing young female salps. Once embryos are released by the mother they float freely until mature enough to create their own clone chain to repeat the cycle.
Salps are proving to be beneficial in battling climate change as they consume algae blooms. These blooms draw carbon dioxide from the environment. When the salps digest the algae, their waste quickly sinks to the bottom of the ocean with the carbon, thus reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. This salp was photographed during a dive in Nosy Be, Madagascar. Read more in our post, Whale Shark Sightings and Turquoise Waters: Scuba Diving Nosy Be, Madagascar.