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‘Extraordinarily rare’ giant phantom jellyfish stuns deep-sea researchers


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The sight of one of the ocean’s most elusive creatures has stunned marine biologists after it glided in front of one of their underwater cameras.

The giant phantom jellyfish has only been seen in the wild around a hundred times since it was first discovered by humans back in 1899.

That’s because the creature lives in the so-called ‘twilight zone’ between 1,000 and 4,000 metres underwater.

So when it appeared on the screen, researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in the US were understandaby amazed.

‘This ghostly giant is a rare sight,’ they wrote.

There have only been around a hundred sightings of this creature in over 120 years (Monetery Bay Aquarium Research Institute)

‘The bell of this deep-sea denizen is more than one meter (3.3 feet) across and trails four ribbon-like oral (or mouth) arms that can grow to more than 10 meters (33 feet) in length.

‘MBARI’s ROVs have logged thousands of dives, yet we have only seen this spectacular species nine times.’

Apparently, this huge jellyfish also acts as a kind of safe haven for smaller creatures within the twilight zone.

The giant phantom jellyfish lives in the ocean’s twilight zone (Monetery Bay Aquarium Research Institute)

Because there’s not much by way of cover down there, they swim into the jellyfish to hide from larger predators.

‘During an expedition to the Gulf of California, MBARI’s ROV Tiburon recorded a fish—the pelagic brotula —alongside a giant phantom jelly,’ the team wrote.

Other creatures will try and hide inside it (Monetery Bay Aquarium Research Institute)

‘Researchers watched the brotula hover above the bell of its host and swim in and out of the jelly’s voluminous oral arms. The wide-open waters of the midnight zone offer little shelter, so many creatures find refuge in the gelatinous animals that are abundant in this environment.’


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