Video: Scientists Discover a Strange, Purple Jelly with the Nautilus

by Owen James Burke

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Siphonophores are like jellyfish, only they’re not individual animals, but built up of colonies (like corals or polyps). They often resemble jellyfish though, and the most well-known of the species is the Portuguese Man-of-War. This purple siphonophore looks more like a used (and oversized) something-or-other you might come across floating in New York Harbor.

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The scientists thought it was just garbage upon first sight, too. What’s particularly strange about this specimen is its color: most deep sea species are red, if any true color at all. That’s because there’s no red light in the abyss, and it appears as pitch black (a good mechanism for both predator and prey). It doesn’t appear to have been given a name yet, or at least Deep Sea News hasn’t mentioned one.

Whether or not you know its name, if you happen upon one of these things floating around down in the deep you’d be best to avoid shaking hands. The scientists operating Nautilus hypothesize that this thing packs a powerful sting, and I’m inclined to agree with them.

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