Translucent Deepstaria Jelly Whorls With Resident Isopod
This translucent Deepstaria jelly unfurled as it whorled and shapeshifted in currents created by ROV Hercules' thrusters. Its bright red resident isopod, a relative of the pillbug, can be spotted hanging on for the ride!
Lacking stinging tentacles like other jellies, Deepstaria can close the opening of its expansive bag-like bell, trapping any prey that has floated inside. The geometric mesh pattern is an intricate network of canals that lead back to its stomach at the top of the bell. As the jelly can reach a large size when inflated, these channels help distribute nutrients across the entire expanse. Like many Deepstaria, this observed specimen included a bright red isopod taking up residence in the scyphozoan’s bell. 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.
The main objective of this expedition is to collect deepwater baseline information to support science and management decisions in and around U.S. marine protected areas in the central Pacific. We will conduct seafloor mapping and acquire video, biological, chemical, and geological samples in deep-sea portions of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in order to better understand marine habitats, biogeographic patterns, seafloor mineral distribution, and the geologic history of these areas.