Alexander Semenov, a marine biologist and scientific macro-photographer, is on a mission to educate people about underwater life and has shared some incredible photos of rarely-seen Sea Angels.

Sea angels are beautiful and mysterious creatures. These cold-water pteropod mollusks are among the most studied objects…

Posted by Alexander Semenov on Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Based at the Moscow State University, Semenov is head of the White Sea Biological Station divers’ team, and specializes in invertebrates.

An experienced photographer, Semenov is keen to highlight the beauty and the mysteries of the ocean.

“My personal goal is to study underwater life through camera lenses and to boost people’s interest in marine biology. I do this by sharing all my findings through social media and in real life, through public lectures, movies, exhibitions, and various media events,” he stated on his flickr page.

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During a dive under the ice in Russia’s White Sea, Semenov came across a Sea Angel which he captured in some stunning shots.

“These cold-water pteropod mollusks are among the most studied objects in neurobiology,” Semenov wrote. “But at the same time little is known about their life cycle.

“At some point they suddenly appear under an ice cap covering the sea. And in a few weeks there are so many that in one cubic meter of water column there can be up to 500 sea angels!”

What exactly is a Sea Angel?

They are gelatinous and largely transparent. Small in size, the biggest species reaches up to 5 centimetres long.

The creatures exist all over the oceans – from polar oceans to the tropics. Their diet consists mainly of sea butterflies, which they suck up with tentacles.

Sea Angels use their wing-like appendages to glide through the water. And they can reach speeds of up to 350 metres per hour. To protect themselves, they secrete a substance which deters predators from eating them.

Sea Angels are hermaphrodites, meaning there are no male or females. The fertilization of eggs occurs internally before the eggs are released into water to hatch.

Image credits: Alexander Semenov