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Take a minute to gently float with Deepstaria, a translucent jelly of organic, ever-changing shapes.

Thanks again to our friends at Nautilus Live! Learn more about Ocean Exploration Trust and watch E/V Nautilus explore the ocean LIVE at or

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Host: Sarah Suta (she/her)
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There’s something different about life underwater.

It’s like the rules of movement change. Animals don’t have to hold their shape the way they do on land.

They’re more free to just, shift, ripple, billow, and expand. Like this Deepstaria jellyfish. [♪♪ Intro ♪♪] Hey, welcome to a new thing we’re trying out on Bizarre Beasts. This month, it’s a calm guided tour of some incredible undersea footage of a very strange creature from our friends at Nautilus Live.

One of their remotely operated vehicles, called Hercules, has encountered this odd jelly on a couple of different expeditions, and it never gets any less weird. Floating there, it doesn’t look like what we might think of as a “normal” jellyfish. It doesn’t have a raft of drifting tentacles, trailing behind its dome-like body, called a bell, to catch prey.

It’s not pulsing slowly through the water, alongside other members of its species, on its way to who knows where. It’s just, hovering alone, suspended in the sea, stretching its translucent body into organic, ever-changing shapes, essentially, casting as large a net as possible, as it waits for food to bump into it. When prey swims into that sprawling, umbrella-like bell, Deepstaria cinches the open end closed, engulfing its unlucky meal like a gelatinous drawstring bag.

And that mesh of channels you can see when the jelly spreads out? All those fine lines traced over its body, running through the bell, meeting up and diverging again? Those are its digestive tract and circulatory system.

When you’re so thin that light can pass through you, your insides are visible from the outside. Which may seem both strange to us and yet also familiar, like veins on pale skin. And that’s not the only odd thing we can see inside of Deepstaria.

It also has, a passenger. That bright red oval, partially veiled by the jelly’s bell, is an animal called an isopod. Isopods are crustaceans, like shrimp and crabs.

Maybe you’ve also seen some of their terrestrial cousins, the woodlice or pill bugs, rollie pollies? But this one’s a deep-sea giant isopod in the genus Anuropus. And Deepstaria jellies seem to always have one along for the ride.

We don’t know yet whether the isopods are friends or freeloaders, taking bits here and there from the creatures Deepstaria makes a meal of. But they seem to accompany the jelly on its gently drifting travels through the deep ocean. Moving with it as it changes shape, a brightly-colored spot in the gauzy haze of the jelly’s body.

Thanks for coming on this new kind of Bizarre Beasts journey with us. We’ll be back on the first Friday of next month with one of our regular episodes. [♪♪ Outro ♪♪]