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Caught on camera: An extremely rare jellyfish that looks exactly like a firework

It was one of perhaps a dozen total sightings of the incredible creature.


Deep sea explorers aboard the Exploration Vessel Nautilus weren’t expecting to see fireworks on New Years’ Eve. With cameras deep below the ocean in the Revillagigedo Archipelago off Baja California in Mexico, celebrations of that kind were far from their minds.

The ocean, however, is always full of surprises. And the team ended up starting their year with “deep sea fireworks and a spirit of exploration”. How? They spotted an extremely rare jellyfish that looks exactly like a firework when it’s illuminated, and captured the footage that you can see in the video above.

The Halitrephes Maasi jellyfish is so rare that this particular sighting was one of only about a dozen sightings ever recorded. The EV Nautilus team wrote in the description that “the frilled tentacles of the jellyfish came into view at 1,225-metres (4,000-feet)”.

They also explained the reason why the jellyfish is ever so rarely spotted: “Radial canals that move nutrients through the jelly’s bell form a starburst pattern that reflects the lights of ROV Hercules with bright splashes of yellow and pink.” Which means the vibrant colours of the jellyfish are reflections of the artificial illumination.

So what happens to it when there is no artificial light? “Without our lights this gelatinous beauty drifts unseen in the dark.”

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