Psychedelic Jellies Caught on Video in Monterey Canyon

by johnsmith

Marine biologists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) have observed several species of the jellyfish genus Crossota in Monterey Bay, California.

Crossota is a genus of deep-sea jellyfish in the hydrozoan family Rhopalonematidae.

It includes five scientifically recognized species: Crossota alba, Crossota brunnea, Crossota millsae, Crossota norvegica, and Crossota rufobrunnea.

First described in 1902 by the German zoologist Ernst Vanhöffen, it is widespread throughout the oceans.

Crossota species tend to be solitary and pelagic in nature. Although they may be found near the bottom as well, down to depths of 4,000 m, they have not been observed resting on the bottom.

They have red coloration, a hemispherical bell, eight tubular or pendant gonads, tentacles in single or multiple rows.

They swim with a series of strong pulsing contractions, usually followed by a period of quiescence.

MBARI biologists used a remotely operated vehicle to observe Crossota jellyfish in Monterey Canyon, a submarine canyon in Monterey Bay, California.

“Our robotic submersibles give us a peek at how animals thrive in the ocean’s dark depths,” they noted.

Crossota millsae is one of the most colorful residents of the ocean’s midnight zone. Image credit: MBARI.

Crossota millsae is one of the most colorful residents of the ocean’s midnight zone. Image credit: MBARI.

Among the jellies encountered by the team was Crossota millsae, a species recently described from the Pacific Ocean off Hawaii and California and dubbed ‘psychedelic jelly.’

“The remarkable coloration of this jelly tipped off scientists that they had found a previously unknown species,” the scientists said.

“It was named in honor of Claudia Mills for her dedication to studying the ocean’s delicate drifters.”

“Unlike many jellies, we can see obvious differences between the males and females,” they added.

“The eggs in the females are large and globular, while the male gonads are shaped like sausages.”

“The baby medusae stay attached under the mother’s bell until they are ready to launch.”

“While brooding behavior is not unique to this jelly, it is always exciting to observe in the deep sea.”

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