Researchers recently spotted an elusive sea creature that boasts a vibrant golden shell covered in thick and slimy hair for the first time in 31 years.
The Allonautilus scrobiculatus, a species of mollusk in the same family as the nautilus, was spotted off the coast of Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific in early August, the Live Science reports quoting the researchers.
The animal was spotted more than three decades ago in the same region, the scientists added.
Peter Ward, a professor of biology and earth and spaces sciences at the University of Washington, said the Allonautilus' shell has been known to science since the 1700s.
“However, the mollusk's "soft parts," including its living tissue, weren't observed until 1984, when Bruce Saunders, a professor of geology at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, spotted the creature,” he told the Live Science.
Ward saw the mollusk a few weeks after Saunders in 1984 and then again earlier this month, he continued.
The Allonautilus is so rare likely because it is completely reliant on scavenging to survive, Ward said. "It needs to find a big, dead fish, and the world just doesn't have much room for big scavengers," Ward added.