Jellyfishes have always been an eerie sort of creature, but this recently spotted deep-sea jellyfish really takes the cake.
Scientists were working on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Okeanos Explorer in the Utu Seamount in the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa when they stumbled on this strange jellyfish, according to a report from Gizmodo. NOAA zoologist Allen Collins identified the translucent creature as a rhopalonematid trachymedusa, which is known to reside in the deep sea.
The umbrella-like appearance of this jellyfish makes it recognizable for the scientists. Its reproductive organs appear yellow, while the digestive system is red. The jelly also has two types of tentacles with one set angled up and the other down. It's not certain why two different sets are necessary, but researchers have suggested that this variety helps the species capture prey.
The protected waters of the National Marine Sanctuary is part of NOAA'S 2017 American Samoa Expedition that's exploring the incredibly diverse marine life in the area. The NOAA-managed sanctuary spans 13,581 square miles of nearshore coral reef and offshore open waters, protecting extensive coral reefs, deepwater reefs, hydrothermal vent communities, and rare marine archaeological resources. The sanctuary is home to precious corals - like the 500-year-old Big Momma - as well as fishing grounds that generations of Somoans have relied on for sustenance and livelihood.
Deep sea creatures like the one captured in the NOAA footage are facing threats even in the deepest parts of the ocean. According to a report from The Guardian, a study published in the journal Elementa estimated that food in the deepest regions of the sea could drop by 55 percent as soon as the year 2100. The ecosystem in the deep ocean will likely suffer from this dramatic scarcity in food, and extreme changes in temperature, pH and oxygen levels could make things even worse.
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