Researchers onboard the Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus recently captured rare images of a jellyfish that looks like exploding fireworks when it’s illuminated.
The Halitrephes maasi jelly was spotted at a depth of 4,000 feet (1,200m) at the Revillagigedo Archipelago off Baja California, Mexico.
“When something remarkable floats by in the middle of sampling operations, our team quickly switches gears to marvel and document,” the researchers write. “Radial canals that move nutrients through the jelly’s bell form a starburst pattern that reflects the lights of ROV Hercules with bright splashes of yellow and pink — but without our lights this gelatinous beauty drifts unseen in the dark.”
In other words, this jellyfish’s beauty is ordinarily hidden as it drifts around in complete darkness in the depths of the ocean. It’s only thanks to artificial illumination and underwater cameras that we get to witness its dazzling appearance.