National Geographic : 1999 Feb
Because it's hard to study life under ice, manyAntarctic With a flamenco flourish, a jellyfish the size of a barrel attracts the camera of oceanog rapher Stokes. "It was huge-just this big pulsating living thing," he says, "not a helpless little drifter like you think of most jellyfish." With slow metabolisms and relatively few predators, many Antarctic invertebrates grow exceptionally large and live years longer than their cousins in warmer water. The pycnogonid, or sea spider, pictured above is the size of a human hand; most of the 600 pycnogonid species worldwide are smaller than a fingernail. The sea stars on the preceding pages may live as long as 20 years.