New melon-headed whale and rough-toothed dolphin hybrid spotted in Hawaii. Pictured, a pod of melon-headed whale swimming across the Bohol Sea 12 January 2005. JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images

A group of researchers has spotted a rare sea creature, a whale-dolphin hybrid, just off the coast of Hawaii.

The creature, which researchers described as a genetic mix of a rough-toothed dolphin and a melon-headed whale, was found last year in August during a two-week research project — Cascadia Research Collective — to scour waters near the island of Kauai and document the activity of marine animals living there.

“We had the photos and suspected it was a hybrid from morphological characteristics intermediate between species,” Robin Baird, a marine biologist and the head of the project, told local newspaper the Garden Island.

The finding, as the researcher said, was unusual, but they needed to conduct a genetic analysis and determine the actual parentage of the creature in question in order to confirm the theory. So, the group used a crossbow-based dart to safely collect a skin sample of the hybrid animal and obtain a biopsy.

As they expected, the work confirmed the creature, now named Steno bredanensis, is indeed a hybrid, which came to life after a male rough-toothed dolphin mated with a female melon-headed whale.

Though this is the first-known mixed breed between the two animals and very rare, it is worth noting many more species of this kind could be hiding in the Hawaiian waters.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more hybrids between the two species ― they do associate quite regularly,” Baird told HuffPost.

The reason behind this was an anomaly the researchers spotted during their expedition.

Normally, the melon-headed whales tend to travel or groups. They are rarely found in the waters off the island of Kauai, but in this case, the team found a group of some 200-300 individuals.

More importantly, one particular member of the group was found hanging out with a separate pod of rough-toothed dolphins. This, according to the researcher, could be the mother of Steno bredanensis and possibly lead to the birth of more hybrids.

Melon-headed whales, just like orcas and pilot whales, are members of the oceanic dolphin family, which means this hybrid is a result of cross-species reproduction. However, it is worth noting this is just a single hybrid and cannot be described as a whole new species, not until it mates with other similar creatures of its kind.

Till now, the team has not spotted any other hybrid apart from this one. Under normal conditions, hybrids like this usually either cannot reproduce or get back into the same family by mating with an animal belonging to its parental species.

Other whale-dolphin hybrids seen in the past included cross species of bottlenose dolphin and a false killer whale named wholphin and a hybrid of a beluga whale and a narwhal, dubbed narluga. The team will return to the region in August to initiate the next phase of their work and take more photos of the hybrid.

The full report on hybrid sea creature is available online.