Resembling a transparent alien spaceship and lurking over two miles below the ocean’s surface, this recently-discovered jellyfish might just be the first of its kind ever spotted.
On April 24, scientists encountered the creature in the video above during one part of the NOAA 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Mariana Trench. The trench is considered the lowest point on Earth; according to National Geographic, if you could drop Mount Everest into the Mariana Trench, its peak would still be more than a mile underwater.
With two sets of tentacles — one long and one short — this jellyfish moves through the water while the “bell,” the translucent ball at the top of the animal, remains still.
Scientists attribute this type of movement to what they call “ambush predation mode,” which allows the jellyfish to hunt by ambushing its prey. They also believe that the glowing yellow balls within the bell are the jellyfish’s gonads.
Scientists operating the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Deep Discoverer happened upon the glowing jellyfish as it was floating around the Enigma Seamount, one of the Mariana Trench’s mountains, about 2.3 miles beneath the Pacific Ocean.
Though the Mariana Trench remains a supremely dark and mysterious region of the ocean, other strange life forms have been found thriving there.
In March 2013, researchers at the University of Southern Denmark discovered microbes living in the sediment of the sea bed — all despite lack of sunlight, and pressure more than 1000 times the standard atmospheric pressure on the Earth’s surface.
NOAA’s exploration of the Mariana Trench is scheduled to continue its third leg in June, which hopefully means we’ll have plenty more strange and surreal animal sightings to look forward to.
Next, read these 12 bizarre facts about jellyfish. Then, find out more about the strange sounds recently recorded in the Mariana Trench.