While scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are saying that they recently discovered a new species of jellyfish that looks exactly like a flying saucer. The problem with that, of course, being that we’ve never seen one. However, the newly discovered jellyfish certainly does look like what you think of when you think of a flying saucer.
Jellyfish discovered deep in the ocean
The newly discovered jellyfish was discovered roughly 2.3 miles beneath the surface west of the Mariana Trench near the underwater mountain range known as the Enigma Seamount. The jellyfish that glows read and yellow appears to have the body of flying saucer with a pair on inner and outer tentacles that it uses to trap its prey.
Jellyfish stings hurt, in fact they hurt a lot, and give the jellyfish a bad name. They really are beautiful creatures in their natural habitats and not that nasty mess when they wash up on the shore. The Blue Bottle Jellyfish doesn’t do the rest of the jellies any favors with a ridiculously painful sting that can even prove fatal. While I’ve heard many Aussies cursing the Blue Bottle for forcing beach closings (a sure way to piss off an Aussie) it’s actually not a jellyfish at all but a siphonophore.
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The discovery by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was made possible thanks th research vessel the Okeanos Explorer. The remotely operated vehicle (ROV) from the research ship, ROV Deep Discoverer, was out on an expedition when it caught the “ambush predator” on video making it one of the first flying saucers captured on video. The ROV was exploring the aptly named Enigma Seamount to learn more about the appropriately named underwater mountain.
“Its morphology is quite different from other seamounts in the region, which generally have a flat top with steep, smooth sides radiating out into narrow ridges,” they wrote in a daily log of the expedition. “By contrast, this one is more circular in form and the sides are much less smooth.”
Inside the bell of the jelly fish are what appear to be brightly-colored yellow gonads that are connected by glowing red canals leading the researchers to believe that the yet unnamed jellyfish belongs to the genus Crossata.
2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas
The find was made during a three-cruise expedition by NOAA to explore the region around the deepest water in the world just east of the Mariana Islands near Guam in the western Pacific Ocean.
In addition to the discovery of the new jellyfish the researchers also found a potential large species of amoeba as the team noticed “small, rounded balls that looked like they had been constructed from sediment.” While there is little life at that depth of the Mariana Trench the researchers did observe “stalked crinoids and primnoid corals, swimming polychaete worms, a cusk eel, Caulophacus sponges, cladhorizid sponges, a Munidopsis squat lobster, a beautiful hydrozoan jellyfish and at least two Nematocarcinus shrimp.”
The first cruise of the expedition will is scheduled to finish on May end with May 20 scheduled to begin the second leg. The expedition will wrap up following the third leg which is slated for a start on June 17.
While the oceans’ vastness has largely been explored, researchers will always find something not seen before just as new species are waiting to be discovered in the Amazon rain forest.