The common clione (Clione limacina) goes by many names. Some call it the naked sea butterfly, but perhaps more fittingly because of its adorable appearance, it is also known as the sea angel, or even the "angel of the ice floes" due to its natural habitat in the Arctic Ocean and cold regions of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Skylight | © PIXTA

However, did you know that the sea angel has another, far-less-than-angelic form?

Take a look at this surprising image captured by aquarium photographer Tsukasa Shiromi 銀鏡つかさ (@tsukarium) of a common clione in mid-feeding:

Image reproduced with permission from Tsukasa Shiromi 銀鏡つかさ (@tsukarium)

"I finally succeeded in capturing (a common clione's) buccal cones, but this composition ended up looking like a kid who just discovered their parent's true form."

The decidedly more Cthulhian appearance of the creature as it extends three pairs of tentacles above its head, known as buccal ("mouth") cones, is quite a departure from the "angelic" image most people have of the common clione.

Indeed, in the composition of the photo, it looks like the smaller sea angel at the right is a child reeling in shock as it learns the true form of its parents.

The image caused quite a sensation on Twitter, where it was liked 59,000 times and retweeted 12,000 times at the time of writing.

Here are some of the reactions it elicitied:

  • "When I first saw the buccal cones, I felt like I was looking at an extraterrestrial lifeform."
  • "It was like a baby sea angel saying, 'Mama...?'"
  • "It's shocking, but rather cool!"

It is said that common cliones can live for a long time without eating anything, so seeing one with its buccal cones extended is a rare sight.

If you'd like to see more of Tsukasa Shiromi's beautiful and awe-inspiring aquarium photography like this one or the ones you can see in the Tweet below, follow him on Twitter or visit his website here.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.