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They Spotted the Jellyfish. Then It Started to Shapeshift

And this Deepstaria jellyfish has a little red companion
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2019 8:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – It looks, in the words of Nerdist, "kind of like the ghost of a plastic bag," and the description is apt. Scientists aboard the research vessel E/V Nautilus have posted video of a rarely seen jellyfish known as Deepstaria. As Mashable notes, the translucent creature has the ability to expand and change shape—a real-life shapeshifter—and that's precisely what it does in the video to the oohs and aahs of the researchers. The Deepstaria jellyfish is seldom seen because it lives in the deepest depths of the ocean, explains a post at Science Alert from last year. Researchers spotted this one at 2,590 feet while studying the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument via remotely operated vehicle (ROV).

Especially intriguing about the new video is that the jellyfish has a small, bright-red companion, an isopod, actually living inside it. The scientists aren't quite sure of the relationship here. It's possible the jellyfish tried to eat the isopod at one point, but it survived and is now hanging around as a parasite. It's also possible they have more of a "symbiotic" relationship, as one researcher puts it in the video. A tweet from the research vessel explains that the jellyfish "unfurled" and "shapeshifted" in currents created by the thrusters of the ROV filming it. (Ever see a jellyfish as a big as a person?)

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