Biology

Scientists Spot 'Unidentified Gelatinous Creature,' Video Captures Their Joy

The delights of the deep are on full display in an enchanting underwater highlight video from Exploration Vessel Nautilus.

This beautiful underwater creature may be a hydromedusa specie.
E/V Nautilus video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Few things bring me as much glee as listening to marine scientists lose their minds over the wild and enchanting creatures they find deep under the ocean waves. The crew of the Exploration Vessel Nautilus shared a highlight reel video from a recent remote-operated vehicle dive at the Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Pacific Ocean. It shows a wonderland of strange and mysterious creatures.

The footage is stunning, but the real-time commentary makes it magical. An "unidentified gelatinous creature" was one of the critters spotted. The researchers had plenty to say: "Oooooh!" "It's beautiful." "Yay!" "Very charismatic." The Nautilus team tentatively IDed the invertebrate as a hydromedusa species, a kind of jellyfish.

The video also features an anemone, a mollusk and an acorn worm.  Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is located about halfway between Hawaii and American Samoa. It's home to reefs, lagoons and islets. Nautilus is investigating some unexplored areas there.

The Ocean Exploration Trust, a nonprofit that focuses on studying the seafloor, operates Nautilus and livestreams many of its ROV dives. Nautilus has delivered outstanding videos from the deep for years, including sightings of an oddball purple sphere in 2016 and an adorable dumbo octopus in 2018. Each video is a heartwarming reminder that marine researchers are just as wowed by their discoveries as I am. 

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