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Scientists Captured Rare Video of Deepstaria, a Bizarre Jellyfish That Changes Shape

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Even among all of the strange and mysterious group of ancient animals known as the jellyfish, the Deepstaria jellyfish is unique. A fact that has now been recorded on video by the Nautilus, a Pacific Ocean research vessel.

Fun fact: the Nautilus has also captured footage of a googly-eyed stubby squid and a weird purple orb.

Live Science reports that, halfway between the U.S. and Australia, the Nautilus spotted a jellyfish that appeared as a ghost….at first.

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#Repost from @mbari_news with @regram.app … The scyphomedusa Deepstaria is certainly odd, with its bag-like appearance, and bell that can open more than a meter wide. Speculation on the identity of a mystery blob has become a sensation online, sparking heated and entertaining debates over its identity. We've seen this unusual jellyfish with MBARI's ROVs around 30 times in 30 years from depths of a few hundred meters to about 2,000 meters deep! Surprisingly, according to morphological and genetic studies, its closest relative is one of the most commonly observed jellies in our area — the moon jelly, Aurelia aurita.⠀ ⠀ #deepstaria #jellyfish #jellies #pelagic #midwater #ROV #scyphomedusa⠀ #deepsealife #deepsea #ocean #oceanlife #sealife #plankton #mesopelagic #MBARI #underwaterphotography #marinebiology

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Then, it unfurled and they got a glimpse of the geometric mesh membrane that revealed its identity: Deepstaria. That, along with its distinctively flowing bell and lack of tentacles, are its most distinguishing features.

The rest of the video is the jellyfish changing shape, from what looks like a crumpled plastic bag to a blanket.

The jellyfish was first discovered by a submersible called the Deepstar 4000 (designed by Jacques Cousteau) in the 1960s, and since then it has only been spotted about a dozen times. Most of the details of its existence remain a mystery to researchers.

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Deepstaria enigmatica. This jellyfish was named after the research submersible Deepstar 4000, which collected the first specimens of this genus in 1966. This species is the home to another species, namely an isopod called Anuropus, which can be seen through the mantle of the jellyfish (on the upper right side of the bell). These animals probably form a symbiotic relationship, perhaps eating food captured by the jellyfish. ⠀ ⠀ Watch a video about this unusual jelly on MBARI's YouTube channel: http://ow.ly/JTf6u⠀ ⠀ #jellyfish #stragethings #deepstaria #MysteriesoftheDeep #MBARI #expedition #midwater #MontereyBay #deepsea #deepsealife #ROV #MarineTechnology #Technology #Robot #MarineBiology #Ocean #oceanlife #oceanscience #sealife #underwaterphotography #Nature #wildlife⠀⠀

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That’s not likely to change anytime soon, which makes this video all the more spectacular.

Science is so cool, y’all. Images like these make it pretty darn hard to disagree.