Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
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Stygiomedusa

MBARI’s research expeditions sometimes yield encounters with extraordinary animals. During MBARI's 2003 expedition to the Gulf of California, scientists spotted this massive jelly known as Stygiomedusa gigantea 1,300 meters below the surface of the Gulf. Its enormous brown bell stretched about a meter (three feet) across and its oral arms were at least three meters (10 feet) long. The researchers also collected a small fish in the genus Thalassobathia that was swimming over the jelly’s bell and among its billowing oral arms. In over 20 years of deep-sea dives, MBARI researchers have only seen Stygiomedusa jellies three times, so finding this drifting behemoth provided a truly memorable experience.

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