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Real-life SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick spotted in the ocean

Friday, August 6th 2021, 1:46 pm - Aye-aye, captain!

NOAA scientists operating a remotely-controlled vehicle in late June happened upon a pair of underwater creatures off the coast of New England, bearing a striking resemblance to the beloved animated characters SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick:

Unfortunately, that's where to comparisons stop.

For starters, the sponge doesn't live in a pineapple under the sea and, unlike the SpongeBob SquarePants cartoon, the real-life duo probably doesn't get along.

In fact, experts say this species of starfish is known to eat sponges, and it may have done so after the camera stopped rolling.

"The sponge is [in] the genus Hertwigia and the sea star is [in] the genus Chondraster," Christopher Mah, a marine biologist at Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and an expert on sea stars told Live Science.

The pair was observed at a depth of 1,885 metres, and researchers say that's significant because it's rare to find bright yellow sponges at this depth.

The discovery was made at the Retreiver Seamount as NOAA researchers collected data in support of the Atlantic Stepping Stones expedition.

Thumbnail image created in Canva by Cheryl Santa Maria. Images of SpongeBob and Patrick courtesy of Nikelodeon/Wikipedia. Fair use.

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