Researchers Spot Deep Sea Jellyfish New to Science
The deep ocean holds many secrets, and last month, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists using an ROV to explore the Mariana Trench shed light on a big one: a jellyfish that, according to Smithsonian, was previously unknown to science. Scientists aboard the Okeanos Explorer spotted the jellyfish near Enigma Seamount, 2.3 miles below the surface.
Researchers think the animal is a hydromedusa that belongs the genus Crossota, a group of animals which, according to Scientific American, spend their whole lives drifting in the ocean. (Other species of jellyfish go through a polyp stage in which they attach themselves to the ocean floor or some other surface before becoming free-floating organisms.)
The jellyfish has two sets of tentacles, one short and one long. Watch the video above carefully—according to NOAA, “you'll see that the long tentacles are even and extended outward and the bell is motionless. This suggests an ambush predation mode. Within the bell, the radial canals in red are connecting points for what looks like the gonads in bright yellow.”
Scientists aboard the Okeanos Explorer will be exploring the Mariana Trench via ROV until July. You can follow along as they explore by checking out the livecam here.