There's a lot we don’t know about the creatures that inhabit the ocean. The waters are vast, making some marine life so seldomly seen that it's a big deal when they're caught on camera. Such was the case for a diver off the coast of Papua New Guinea. While swimming in the waters there, a soccer ball-sized jellyfish started gliding next to them going “quite fast.” The incredible sight was all captured on crystal-clear video.
The unusual jellyfish had spots covering its translucent body with four sets of striped tentacles trailing it. The boxy frame also held a bright red organ that pulsed with each forward movement. (This is likely its gastrovascular cavity.)
So, what type of jellyfish was it? It's been identified as the Chirodectes maculatus, and a sighting of it is so rare that there are only two recorded in history—the diver in Papua New Guinea is one of them. The C. maculatus was first discovered in 1997 by a team of Australian scientists, but it wasn’t until 2005 that it was officially described. In 2006, its official name was accepted.
Considering the size of the C. maculatus, it’s amazing that it’s only been spotted a couple of times. “[Something] so large and conspicuous in appearance would only be seen twice is pretty surprising,” Dr. Allen Collins, a zoologist and curator for the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of Natural History, remarked. “But that said, a lot of diversity is rare. It tells me that we still have a lot of exploration to undertake.”
A rare jellyfish known as the Chirodectes maculatus was spotted for the second time on record. Here's the first time it's ever been captured on video.