Bizarre jellyfish-like creature discovered

Strange-Looking Sea Creature Discovered On Ocean Floor

Earlier this year, a team of researchers sent cameras down to the depths of the ocean. They likely didn't expect to see this creature swimming by.

The Ocean Exploration Trust uploaded this video to YouTube in June, and according to the description, the cameras followed the creature for as long as they were able.

The trust's website says this video was captured while its exploration vessel, known as Nautilus, was searching the Gulf of Mexico, studying how oil and gas in the water have affected the ecosystems living in it.

Sea creature identified
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Bizarre jellyfish-like creature discovered
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Melbourne, AUSTRALIA: Two Brown Sea Nettle jellyfish are displayed in a tank of the Melbourne Aqarium, 19 December 2006. The jellyfish which live in the Pacific and Indian oceans are only midly dangerous to humans, are part of the Creepy Creatures exhibition which features the world?s largest crabs, including Coconut Crabs as the exhibit?s main stars, with leeches, Bird Eating Spiders, scorpions, centipedes, Giant Burrowing Cockroaches, Christmas Island Crabs, Horseshoe Crabs and many others species. AFP PHOTO/William WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN: A diver attaches a sensor to a large Echizen jellyfish 04 October 2005 off the coast of Komatsu in Ishikawa prefecture, northern Japan. Large schools of Echizen jellyfish, which have a body ranging 1 to 1.5 meters in diameter, drift into the Sea of Japan in autumn and damage coastal fisheries. Researchers attached sensors to some of the species that will send informations about water depth and temperature via satelite. AFP PHOTO/YOMIURI SHIMBUN -- JAPAN OUT -- (Photo credit should read YOMIURI SHIMBUN/AFP/Getty Images)

But back to that bizarre-looking sea creature: USA Today even noted it could have been mistaken for an alien, it was so strange looking.

And here's something interesting: a siphonophore isn't a single animal.

We think a writer for The Dodo summed it up best when saying the jellyfish-related creature "is in fact a roving colony made up of thousands of individual organisms, called zooids, each contributing to the whole."

One of the most well-know types of siphonophores is the Portuguese Man-O'-War, whose tentacles trap and paralyze other fish before eating them.

This sighting is very rare because these creatures only live in deep ocean water, according to Brown University.

A writer for Deep Sea News said she'd only seen red and orange siphonophores, never a purple-colored one like the animal in the video. But she spoke with a scientist from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute who said the creature's color comes from "all the fish they eat."

There have been no reports about what specific type of siphonophore the one in the video is, but giant ones can grow to be as long as 130 feet.

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