A fortuitous capture of a strange thing floating by a deep sea camera…
A remotely operated underwater vehicle caught this creature floating around in the brine — commenters on YouTube are positing that it’s a specimen of the Deepstaria enigmatica jellyfish, whereas other folks on Reddit are suggesting it’s errant whale placenta. Any marine biologists care to chime in?
Credit: @djvexd1 and @bayanimills on Twitter (THANKS!)
Amazing, stuff! Just incredible to watch.
What is it? It is a Deepstaria enigmatica:
Deepstaria enigmatica, is a jellyfish of the family Ulmaridae first described in 1967 by F.S. Russel. The bell of this jellyfish is very thin and wide (up to approx. 60 cm), and resembles a translucent, folding sheet or “lava lamp” as the animal moves.
The Marine species identification portal notes:
[…] most specimens reported colorless but deep brown exumbrella and stomach lining a paler brown recorded once; more observations needed before value of this as species character can be evaluated.
The source of the identification was this reddit thread. You can clearly see the polygonal cell-like texture in the bell. The video, called “cascade creature” was added April 27 to YouTube.
Well, I think we just got a valuable observation. It has been suggested that this one is dead but the remarkable camerawork was detailed enough to allow the identification of the creature and will likely reveal some new information about it. Fascinating!
UPDATE (12-May-2012): Confirmed by several scientists that it is indeed Deepstaria enigmatica. Good job on the reddit poster who got this first!