A newfound jellyfish looks like an alien spaceship rather than a deep-sea organism.
Using the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Deep Discoverer in the Mariana Trench, marine scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) spotted a weird-looking sea creature with yellow and red lights glowing inside its body and captured it on video.
The jellyfish, believed to belong to the genus Crossota, has long and short tentacles that protrude from its gelatinous bell. In the video, it is notable that when the cnidarian extends its long tentacles, its bell does not move. That activity, according to the scientists, suggests that it is on ambush predation mode.
The lights seen glowing inside its bell are radial canals (red) that serve as connecting points for the gonads (yellow).
The spaceship-looking jellyfish was seen on April 24 during Dive 4 of the 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas at a depth of 12,140 feet (2.3 miles). The exploration is part of the NOAA's mission to understand deep-sea habitats.
The dive also revealed other noteworthy features around the trench, particularly the so-called Enigma Seamount.
"Its morphology is quite different from other seamounts in the region, which generally have a flat top with steep, smooth sides radiating out into narrow ridges," a NOAA report log read. "By contrast, this one is more circular in form and the sides are much less smooth."
The ROV also collected several rock samples during the dive. One rock looked volcanic, with sediments appearing pebbly, which the scientists guessed could be due to currents. There were also notable little circular balls, which were temporarily labeled as single-celled amoebas. Before ascent, the ROV collected two primnoid corals.
The first leg is expected to end on May 11, with the second and third leg to follow May 20 and June 17, respectively.
Watch the mesmerizing video of the alien jellyfish below.