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NOAA just discovered an insane-looking ‘cosmic’ jellyfish in a deep-sea exploration


Jelly fish (NOAA)

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration exploration ship, the Okeanos Explorer, captured video of some insane-looking creatures of the deep.   

Researchers captured images of a translucent jellyfish (Rhopalonematid trachymedusa) in a remote part of the Pacific Ocean, near American Samoa. Shaped like an UFO, its reproductive organs can be seen in bright yellow, and its digestive system in red. The creature has two unique set of tentacles likely to catch prey some 9,000 feet below the surface. 

“Cosmic” Jellyfish on “Utu” Seamount, American Samoa

This thing looks like some sort flying saucer as it moves through the water and is NOAA's most recent discovery.  Others include: 

A sea robin (NOAA)

Fish that walk 

Scientists have also discovered sea robins, an orange-colored bottom feeder that has bony plates along their bodies that uses its its fin rays to “walk” along the bottom of the ocean.

Venus fly trap anemone (NOAA)

An underwater venus flytrap 

This large sea anemone has  tentacles that have stinging microscopic harpoons that inject venom in its prey.  Nice.

Brittle star (NOAA)

Brittle stars

Slinking along the sea floor using their flexible arms for locomotion, brittle stars are related to starfish and use their flexible arms to slink along the sea floor. 

The National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa

Since February, researchers have been diving in The National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa, a 13,581-square-mile sanctuary home to more fish and marine mammals than any other. Using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), the "cosmic" jellyfish was just part of the wonders found there.

The are contains hydrothermal vents, deepwater coral reefs and some of the oldest and largest coral formations in the world, including "Big Momma," a 500-year-old coral head. 

Working to protect the area

The researchers say they're gathering information on the area and species to create a baseline for their continued protection. 

“Much remains unknown about the deep-sea habitats and geology in and around these protected places,” said NOAA team member and Lehigh University molecular ecologist Santiago Herrera told Gizmodo. “This expedition will contribute new information by exploring areas of the deep ocean in American Samoa for the first time.”

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