deep sea jellyfish (1)

photo: Avi Klapfer

deep sea jellyfish (3)

photo: Avi Klapfer

deep sea jellyfish (2)

photo: Avi Klapfer

Marine biologist Enric Sala was shocked when he came across this bizarre deep sea jellyfish while exploring the remote islands of Desventuradas off the coast of Chile. From the national geographic article:

“Avi, who is once again piloting the submarine DeepSee and telling us stories as if we were in his living room back home, suddenly feels a presence on one side of the vessel that, in the prevailing darkness at this depth, is just a shadow.  “Something is approaching,” he says.  Little by little, the figure starts to become visible in our lights but we do not know what it is.  As soon as I hear him say, “This is incredible!” I know that this sighting is an exceptional one.  A type of jellyfish, but with hard parts, like feet, that can turn and swim in all directions hypnotizes us.  None of us have ever seen anything like it.  We record it swimming for a half an hour thanks to the submarine’s true dance that Avi pilots to see this beautiful animal from every angle.”

I REALLY hope they release this footage soon. I’d love to be able to really see just how strange its swimming motion is. I’ll keep an eye out and put it here when (and if) I find it.

The creatures living in the area Enric is exploring haven’t been detailed since 1875 (!!!) so he hopes that by exploring it now and cataloging what lives there—including rare or unknown species like this jellyfish—will help Chilean scientists and conservation workers.