How this jellyfish earned the nickname ‘Psychedelic Medusa’

Scientists discovered a jellyfish in such an unusual pose, they gave the creature a nickname: Psychedelic Medusa.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released footage of the jellyfish, a species called Crossota millsae, as part of its exploration of deep-sea environments off the coasts of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Researchers captured the jellyfish, which appears pink and purple, with tentacles extended in all directions, believed to be “360-degree feeding.”

“Certainly psychedelic, the video shows a jelly in a very interesting pose, suggesting this jellyfish may feed by hovering above the seafloor with stinging cell-loaded tentacles extended and waiting for prey,” said Mike Ford of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service and Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, in a blog post. “In other dives, these poses were followed by rapid swimming.”

The jellyfish’s pose was captured using a remote-operated vehicle (ROV) on the seafloor.

NOAA has encountered similar jellyfish before. Last year, the research vessel Okeanos Explorer grabbed footage of a jellyfish near American Samoa resembling a UFO. 

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.

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