Watch a Deepstaria jellyfish shape-shift like an underwater Pac-Man ghost

Bonus: there's also a tiny crustacean hitching a ride inside the translucent jellyfish's body.

Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton

The Deepstaria jellyfish changes its shape so much it's like watching an underwater lava lamp.

Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

The ocean is full of bizarre creatures, and the Deepstaria jellyfish is definitely one of them. Here's a video EVNautilus posted Wednesday of a Deepstaria shape-shifting as a little crustacean eats the jellyfish's body from the inside. No, really.

The jellyfish and its crustacean pal were spotted more than 2,500 feet (762 meters) below the central Pacific Ocean by the Ocean Exploration Trust via an exploration mission aboard the vessel Nautilus.

The video shows the beautiful, translucent Deepstaria jellyfish changing its body shape while floating in the sea currents near Baker Island at the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. Because it doesn't have stinging tentacles like other jellyfish, the Deepstaria can close the opening of its bag-like bell, trapping prey that floats inside.

This particular Deepstaria jellyfish was observed with a passenger inside its body -- a bright red crustacean. The small red isopod is actually a relative of the pillbug.

"The full extent of this association is unknown, but it is likely that this small crustacean consumes pieces of jelly while remaining hidden from predators" inside the Deepstaria, according to the video description.

While this video was created for scientific studies complete with voice commentary from excited marine biologists, it's still fun to watch the unusual jellyfish take the form of a Pac-Man ghost, then a rippled silk sheet, and then a floating plastic bag.

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