Discoveries are reminders that we know so little about the ocean, Earth's largest habitat.
Jellies in the genus Aegina are different from many other jellyfish because they typically have only four tentacles extending from the bell. Although they are observed frequently, we actually know little about this group of deep-sea jellies. This individual was recorded by the ROV Doc Ricketts at 1,365 meters (4,478 feet). The small spheres inside its bell? Eggs!
A surprisingly large proportion of these gelatinous marine animals have yet to be named and classified because they disintegrate when collected by traditional sampling tools like trawl nets. MBARI's remotely operated vehicles allow us to make video observations that provide important information about the animal's behavior, where it lives, and what it eats. This little jellyfish has been frequently observed eating much larger comb jellies.
Giant sea spiders eat by sucking fluids out of their prey! 🌊🕷😱
Pycnogonids are deep-sea animals related to the spiders we see on land, so they are often called “sea spiders.” They are fairly common in tide pools, but these intertidal species are typically small and hard to see. In contrast, deep-sea pycnogonids can have long legs that grow to over 50 centimeters (20 inches) across!
At least two species of the Colossendeis group have been observed by MBARI remotely operated vehicles deep in Monterey Canyon. These spiders are quite mobile and can walk or swim using their eight legs. Pycnogonids are “suctorial” predators—most species feed by sucking the bodily fluids from other marine animals. They feed primarily on anemones, such as the pom-pom anemone, Liponema sp.
Research programs at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) encompass the entire ocean, from the surface waters to the deep seafloor, and from the coastal zone to the open sea. The need to understand the ocean in all its complexity and variability drives MBARI's research and development efforts.