Mysterious Sea Creature Finally Identified
For two years, scientists have been trying to determine the species of a mysterious sea creature in the Gulf of Mexico.By Ryan Biek | June 19, 2014
For two years, a mysterious sea creature has been captured on video as it swims 5,000 feet below the surface, but scientists have been in the dark as to what exactly it is.
The fish's species was, at first, hard to identify because it appeared to have no eyes, mouth, tentacles, front or back.
NPR reports the first idea was that it was a whale placenta. They ruled that out because it would have been a large target for predators at that depth and likely would have been eaten sooner. Then "Deep Sea News" Chief Editor Craig McClain noticed the creature had a sex organ similar to a giant jellyfish called Deepstaria enigmatica.
Case solved? Not quite.
According to the Daily Mail, it was a small detail — the hexagonal pattern on the creature's skin — that gave strong evidence that this jellyfish is actually a Deepstaria reticulum, or a placental jellyfish.
The species is native to Antarctic waters, which are significantly colder than the Gulf of Mexico. Scientists don't know how or why this particular jellyfish ended up in the Gulf.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says oceans cover 70 percent of our planet's surface, yet 95 percent of it remains unexplored.
Odds are the oceans contain many other incredible mysteries to be solved and unfamiliar creatures to identify.