It's one of the most hostile places on Earth and extends seven miles (11km) below the waves at its deepest point, but the Mariana Trench is full of secrets. A deepwater exploration mission of the area has spotted beautiful, unknown jellyfish with two types of tentacles as well as a number of other bizarre animals just one week into the study. The orb-like jellyfish was spotted on a dive at a location named Engima Seamount at a depth of 12,139ft (3,700 metres). While experts were able to identify it as belonging to the genus Crossota, they are unable to assign a precise name to the pretty hydromedusa.
They filmed the jellyfish 'floating' through the depths with its long tentacles extended outwards and its bell motionless, suggesting 'an ambush predation mode'. It is thought the red colour in the bell is the creature's radial canals, while the bright yellow may be its gonads. The researchers believe this animal is an ambush predator which waits motionless for something to bumble into its tentacles. The jellyfish was filmed by experts aboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) ship, Okeanos Explorer on April 24 using the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Deep Discoverer. Scientists nicknamed it 'Microsoft Paint', which looks like a resemblance to a jellyfish drawn in that program design.
They are in the process of collecting information about the poorly known deepwater areas in and around the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument (MTMNM) which protects approximately 95,216 square miles of submerged lands and waters.
It is close to the famous Mariana Trench, which measures 1,580 miles (2,550 km) long, with an average width of just 43 miles (69 km). The distance between the surface of the ocean and the trench's deepest point, the Challenger Deep is nearly seven miles (11 km). In the coming months, the researchers will explore deep habitats, new hydrothermal vent sites, mud volcanoes, deep-sea coral and sponge communities, and seamounts, as well as subduction zone and trench areas. It's hoped the information they collect until July will help improve our understanding of of the deep-ocean habitats of the Mariana archipelago.
Video snippets and snapshots - Credits: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas
Expedition website: http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/explorations/ex1605/welcome.html
Live feed till July 10, 2016 : http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/media/exstream/exstream.html
Okeanos Explorer - Camera 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6aXR-SL5L2o
Okeanos Explorer - Camera 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdWzZptopSQ
Okeanos Explorer - Camera 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31vNARRU1SU
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