The rare deep-sea jellyfish got on video
Medusa Deepstaria enigmatica
American scientists were able to meet and film one of the rare species of jellyfish, Deepstaria enigmatica, in a natural habitat. She lives in the dark depths of the ocean, which makes searching difficult. The article with the results was published in the journal American Museum Novitates.
Deepstaria enigmatica was first described in 1967 and since then it has come to the attention of scientists a few times. The name she received in honor of the research ship Jacques Yves Cousteau Deepstar 4000, and the species epithet, literally meaning “mysterious” – because of stealth. According to the available data, biologists could not restore the way of life of this animal: how and what it feeds, how widespread, in what depths it lives and so on.
Frames on which Deepstaria enigmatica can be observed in its habitat
In the new work, the biologists described how a living specimen of this animal was discovered near the island of San Benedicto in the Pacific Ocean using a remotely controlled Hercules apparatus. The jellyfish was at a depth of 974 meters, almost in total darkness. It looks like a thin plastic bag about the size of a meter without any visible tentacles. Biologists believe that Deepstaria enigmatica hunts, opening the dome wide and waiting for the pop-up victim. The approach of the underwater vehicle caused it to contract sharply, forming an internal cavity.
Deepstaria enigmatica is the second species of the genus Deepstaria, caught on camera. The first was Deepstaria reticulum, captured in 2012. This jellyfish also looks rather strange, which at first made it difficult for scientists to identify. The species have similar traits as well as different ones: in particular, D. reticulum is dark red and has small groups of poisonous tentacles on the inside.
Also, scientists were able to fix the dead Deepstaria enigmatica on the bottom, crabs and shrimps fed on it. Lowering the bodies of jellyfish is considered an important element in the cycle of substances in the ocean. The authors note that all these discoveries became possible only thanks to the development of new methods of both robotics and shooting under poor lighting conditions. As a result, it is possible to investigate rare organisms in their habitat.
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