In the “midnight zone” of California’s Monterey Bay, scientists have discovered a new species of crown jellyfish that resembles a crimson alien spaceship. According to researchers the newly named species, Atolla reynoldsi, averages around 5 inches and can have anywhere from 26 to 39 tentacles.
Moreover, A. reynoldsi has a deep groove running around its central bell which gives it the appearance of a domed head with a frilly red crown.
The researchers say that a crown jelly uses this extended appendage to catch prey such as crustaceans, siphonophores and other small creatures that pass through the ocean’s midnight zone. The midnight zone is the deep, sunless region of the ocean that extends from 3,300 to 13,100 feet below the water’s surface.
MBARI researchers occasionally found crown jellies without the telltale trailing tentacle. They found this while examining thousands of hours of film captured in the Monterey Bay’s midnight zone between April 2006 and June 2021. The scientists assumed that three new crown jelly species had been identified in the Bay. However, the observations were too few to confirm it. Only Monterey Bay has seen A. reynoldsi. Which swims at depths of 3,323 to 10,463 feet.
George Matsumoto research expert at MBARI said in a statement, “These extraordinary new jellies underline how much we still have to understand about the deep sea. We discover something new almost every time we dive into the depths of Monterey Bay.”
According to MBARI, over the last 34 years, researchers have discovered more than 225 new species. Moreover, the two other crown jelly species found without trailing tentacles could be classed as new Atolla species in the future. However the researchers think that more research is needed to get in depth knowledge about this.