ARLO HEMPHILL | 18 November 2013
Amazing footage of a “sea monster” has recently been making the rounds on YouTube and the blogosphere. The footage comes from a ROV camera working 5,200 ft down off an oil rig, and it appears to depict a massive ghost-like being. The bizarre creature is thought to over 30 feet long and, in the footage, appears to approach the camera out of curiosity.
The animal in question turned out to be Deepstaria reticulum, a massive jellyfish relative. Deepstaria are suspension feeders, free-floating in the water column in wait for unsuspecting prey. The elegant ungulating dance it seems to perform in the footage is not typical behavior, but rather is the result of the ROV’s jets pushing against the animal’s gelatinous, bell-shaped body.
Check out the videos below for footage of this rare animal, along with a more detailed explanation. Apologies in advance for the offbeat humor in the first video, but they nevertheless do a good job in setting the stage and explaining the science around this ocean giant. The second video is simply the original footage with no sound, allowing a more detailed examination of the encounter.
Tags: Arlo Hemphill, deepsea, Deepstaria reticulum, film, jellyfish, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), ocean, oil rig, ROVs