A beach-ball-size jellyfish that looks like a cross between an foreigner ghost and a pinkish cosmetic purse was captured in a rare video taken a number of a remotely operated vehicle( ROV) in the inky depths of the Pacific Ocean.
The ROV, dubbed Hercules, recorded the unusual jellyfish — named Deepstaria enigmatica after the Deepstar 4000, a deep-sea submersible designed by the French explorer Jacques Cousteau — off the coast of Mexico’s San Benedicto Island in the Pacific Ocean in November 2017, according to a new examine published in the May 9 issue of the journal American Museum Novitates.
“It’s merely this crazy, weird foreigner thing, ” lead study researcher David Gruber, a professor of biology at the City University of New York and a Radcliffe fellow at Harvard University, told Live Science. “We barely know anything about it.”[ Image Gallery: Jellyfish Rule !]
Scientists have published examines on D. enigmatica merely about a dozen day since 1966, when three researchers aboard the Deepstar 4000 captured the first specimen. Unfortunately, this specimen was incomplete; the jellyfish was so large, it couldn’t be completely sucked up by the submersible’s suction sampler, the researchers said.
Although that jellyfish was incomplete, “much of the existing information about D. enigmatica is from this specimen, ” which now resides at the British Natural History Museum, the researchers wrote in the study.
Here’s what researchers do know about the odd animal. First, D. enigmatica had not yet been tentacles, so it hunts by encapsulating prey within its gelatinous, umbrella-like body. And there aren’t any reports on the species’ diet, but like other jellyfish, it probably feeds small fish, crustaceans and other jellyfish, Gruber said.
As Hercules began to film the jellyfish — a large jelly more than 2 feet( 68 centimeters) long with a diameter of 1.8 feet( 56 cm) — it shut its body in a rapid ripple. Gruber said the jellyfish may have mistaken the vibrations from the ROV as tasty prey and thus tried to bag it.
“[ The jellyfish] sensed that maybe it had something potentially inside of it, and it shut, ” Gruber said.
After recording the mysterious jellyfish for about 10 minutes at virtually 3,200 feet( 974 meters) below sea level, Hercules took a dive to the ocean floor — this time, at about 2,900 feet (8 99 m) below sea level, east of Mexico’s Socorro Island.
Among the dense forest of sponges and corals, Hercules filmed bright-red crabs feasting on a dead Deepstaria , inducing it the first scientific record of a Deepstaria “jelly autumn, ” which is akin to animals eating a dead whale after a whale fall, the researchers said.( There are two known species of Deepstaria : D . enigmatica and D. reticulum , and it’s not clear which species the crabs were feeing, Gruber noted .)
“There was a little crab party going on around this jelly, ” Gruber said. Food is so scarce in the deep sea, it’s no wonder that animals down there were gobbling up this jellyfish, he said.
Gruber and his colleagues plan to explore more of the ocean with ROVs like Hercules, which can carry high-tech cameras( in this case, the Canon ME2 0F-SH) and whose spotlights is also available dimmed to that of a mere penlight.
“Usually when submarines go down, they go down with these big, powerful lightings because they don’t want to bump into things and accident, ” Gruber said. “It’s like being at a party outside and the cops come and shine a flashlight in your face. That’s the kind of way we usually approach deep-sea life.”
The low-light Hercules even managed to film a blue, bioluminescent being known as Tomopteris swimming around the jellyfish.
“That’s a feature that’s normally missed utilizing other cameras, ” Gruber said.
Original article on Live Science .
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