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Whoa! Sea creature looks just like Cookie Monster

Stove Pipe Sponge, Aplysina archeri

Photo courtesy of Mauricio Handler/Handlerphoto.com/Los Angeles Times

By Deborah Netburn, Los Angeles Times

Talk about a sea monster!

This underwater Cookie Monster is actually a trio of purple sea sponges (Alpysina archeri) that have fused together to form a strong resemblance to the perennially hungry Muppet.

Photographer Mauricio Handler stumbled across this “Cookie Monster of the sea” while on a diving trip to Curacao in the Caribbean, and could not resist taking a few shots.

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“Usually I do more serious work with dolphins, whales and sharks, but this was just fun,” he told the Los Angeles Times.

The Cookie Monster sponge is about 3 feet tall and squishy to the touch. According to Handler, you could easily close its gaping “mouth” by squeezing it between your thumb and forefinger.

Like other sponges, these guys will spend their life anchored to a single spot, keeping a constant flow of water moving through their bodies and filtering out food.

If it could talk, I think it would say “C is for crustacean!” Or maybe, “Me love PLANKTON!”

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