Weird sea creature on video


[Video Link] This unusual ocean creature resembles a sheet of brown translucent rubber. It's a Deepstaria enigmatica, a cnidarian.

Who needs to invent science fiction life forms, when we've got an ocean full of them?

A very, VERY unusual ocean creature

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  1. LOVE stuff like this. Check out the book “The Deep” from your library for many more weird creatures.

  2. This reddit thread identifies it as whale placenta: http://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/tdfac/wierd_sea_creature_caught_on_film_by_an_rov_ive/

    1. Hilariously Reddit changed its mind after you posted, it’s a jellyfish, deepstaria enigmatica.  :)

    1. Have you ever had any kind of jellyfish? Delicious wouldn’t be the first thing that came to mind. Crunchy but flavorless, maybe.

    1.  I was seriously about to post a 2001 reference about the life forms in Jupiter’s atmosphere…  Well, a 2010 reference, I think.

      I remember even thinking ‘this seems too far-fetched.’  Once again, Arthur C. Clarke proves to be much, much smarter than I.

  3. What they don’t tell you is this thing is approximately the size of one Rhode Island.

  4. Disclaimer: I used to be a jellyfish scientist, but I’m recovering :)The photo of Deepstaria in my Pacific Coast Pelagic Invertebrates book is a screen grab from an older video,  so the photos linked from a commenter on Pharyngula ( http://roadlonglifeshort.blogspot.ca/2008/01/its-friday.html ) are a huge improvement. I didn’t initially think it was a jellyfish either, but around 4:46 in the video you get to see the mouth on its long, pendulous manubrium hanging from the center. From the base of the mouth, you can see the extensions of the gut radiating symmetrically outwards, where they meet the gonads (the white masses). This is a great diagnostic to identify it as a jellyfish, whatever the shape of the bell.

    1. It’s funny you should say that it took you until nearly 5 minutes in before you knew, because I have absolutely NO qualifications as a biologist of any stripe, yet the movement just in the first few seconds made it clear to me that it had to be some sort of jellyfish-like creature.

      Is this an example of knowing too little to realize how many other possibilities there actually are?

      1. I’d say yes.  

        First of all, “Jellyfish-like creature” is a pretty broad statement. Just off the top of my head, I can think of the following organisms which could be considered “Jellyfish-like”: Actual jellyfish (Hydrozoa, scyphozoa, cubozoa), ctenophores, flatworms, pteropod molluscs, colonial tunicates, larvaceans, siphonophores, nudibranchs, even phytoplankton and larval fish. 

        Convergent evolution can produce many organisms which may be taxonomically different, but may look very similar. Imagine you’re an alien and come to earth, catching a glimpse of first a hummingbird, and then a hummingbird hawk moth ( http://rcarrelli.blog.mytru.ca/files/2011/09/hummingbird-hawk-moth.jpg ). Unless you knew about the things that distinguish birds from insects, for example birds have feathers and skeletons, while insects have a jointed exoskeleton, you would have a hard time classifying them differently without closer examination. Learning the diagnostic characteristics of classes of organisms is key to identification. 

        In this case, unless you’ve seen a specimen of Deepstaria enigmatica before, you would need a clear view of the mouth and the central part of the oral surface to determine that the organism had the radial symmetry and single-opening digestive system of a cnidarian. Otherwise, there are other creatures which could superficially resemble this specimen, for example a colonial tunicate like Pyrosoma sp. ( http://www.blueanimalbio.com/jisuo/3/Pyrosoma%20atlanticum11.jpg ), or even the possibility that it is something else entirely, either living, dead or inanimate.

        1. So glad you replied!

          I did not know that flatworms, pteropod molluscs, colonial tunicates, or phytoplankton were in the jellyfish family.  The others I didn’t even know existed.

          That last link (Pyrosoma sp.) was amazing.

          Thanks for the mini education!

          1.  flatworms, pteropod molluscs, colonial tunicates nor phytoplankton are in the “jellyfish” family.  Furthermore, there’s no such thing as a jellyfish.  they’re not fish.  You claim to be a former “jellyfish biologist”.  Again, no such thing.

          2. i may be wrong, but i don’t think Johnathan is saying any of those are jellyfish. i believe he’s listing things ALONG WITH jellyfish that are “jellyfish-like”.

          3. Kennapea: That’s exactly what I was saying. And yes, Kenn, I’m well aware that there’s no such thing as a ‘Jellyfish”, but many of us in the field still use the term ‘Jellyfish’ or “jellies” to refer to what is more correctly known as “Gelatinous Zooplankton”, because a) it’s easier to say, b) laypersons understand it more intuitively, and c) because an important part of effectively communicating science to people is trying hard NOT to sound like a pedantic boffin :)

    1. I was looking for a “I for one welcome…” comment, how appropriate that it came from a “slashdottir” :)

  5. I bet the Chinese guy w the Submarine (a couple stories up) for harvesting Sea Cucumbers will repurpose it to harvest and eat these. 

    That reminds me of once my friend had a video of a similar creature he took diving off Hawaii. We asked some divemeasters, nobody recognized it so we figured it was some rare form of life. Eventually I found it was a Salp, one of the most abundant creatures on Earth, so much so that they can affect global warming. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salp

  6. I bet the Chinese guy w the Submarine (a couple stories up) for harvesting Sea Cucumbers will repurpose it to harvest and eat these. 

    That reminds me of once my friend had a video of a similar creature he took diving off Hawaii. We asked some divemeasters, nobody recognized it so we figured it was some rare form of life. Eventually I found it was a Salp, one of the most abundant creatures on Earth, so much so that they can affect global warming. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salp

  7. Deepstaria is not that rare, but is large (more than a meter diameter), so rarely seen intact. In the video, the swirling from the sub makes the medusa appear to undulate and it even turns inside-out. Normally they just hang out like a balloon. I posted some images of a more “typical” specimen at http://www.facebook.com/jellywatch. The web-like pattern is not a nerve net, as some comments have said. It is branches from their digestive system.

  8. Ok, watch with this music in the background.
     http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=1ZH241gKu-s#t=930s

    Also, my first thought on seeing the hexagonal patterns was “Ambassador Kosh has a pet! “

  9. You’re telling me that when I was little and threw a towel or shirt into the pool with me to make it look like a fish, there was actually a fish out there that really looked like that?!

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