Jellyfish are mesmerizing creatures. From the giant phantom jelly to a giant red specimen, they come in a seemingly infinite variety of shapes and sizes. More species continue to be discovered as scientists push into the deep, dark corners of the ocean. Recently, a team from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute captured footage of a rare psychedelic jellyfish in the midnight zone of the Pacific’s Monterey Canyon.
The psychedelic jellyfish has a clear body and long trailing tentacles which give it the appearance of a firework against the dark sky. Known scientifically as Crossota millsae, its bell-shaped body is only about 1.1 inches across. The females carry clearly visible eggs, while the males have their own visible oblong gonads. The species is named for Claudia Mills, a jellyfish expert at the University of Washington and Friday Harbor Laboratories.
The most special feature of the species is their bioluminescence. Like other species of jellies, they emit light to scare away predators. This property earned the species its nickname of the “psychedelic jellyfish” in 2018. It lives in very deep dark waters well over 3,000 feet below the surface. To film the creature, a team from the renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute used a remote operated vehicle (ROV)—similar to the robot used in the movie Titanic, although of course technology has progressed since the late 1990s.
To learn more about the aquarium, check out their website for exciting news of future dives.