The Deep-Sea Crown Jelly: New Species Discovered in Monterey Bay

Atolla jellies thrive in the deep waters of oceans around the world. In fact, they are known for living in what is called the midnight zone of the ocean where sunlight couldn’t penetrate.

For scientists, these jellies are aptly called “jelly” or “medusa” rather than jellyfish since they aren’t fish, and they are known for their elongated, trailing tentacle that’s used for catching prey.

Lately, researchers have discovered new species of this crown jelly in the deep waters of Monterey Bay, and they believe that these creatures could be in other  deep waters around the world as well.

This wasn’t a surprise because the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) found three unique Atolla-like jellies in the area over the last 15 years.

And after studying them for quite some time, scientists finally declared one of these samples as part of a new species of Atolla jellies.

This report was published in detail on the scientific journal “Animals” earlier this year, and the specie was named “Atolla reynoldsi.”

According to Dr. George Matsumoto, senior education and research specialist at MBARI: “We named this stunning new species in honor of Jeff Reynolds in recognition of the 4.3 million hours of service that and other volunteers have contributed to the Monterey Bay Aquarium over the past 38 years.”

He said that Reynolds was the first ever volunteer at the aquarium as its education and conservation partner.

What makes the A.reynoldsi distinct from the other Atolla jellies is its size because it’s a lot bigger than its counterparts. It also features a d furrowed bell with a deep grove that runs around it.

Upon close observation, you’ll also see that the gut of a A.reynoldsi is shaped like a Greek cross as opposed to other species that have a clover-shaped gut.

Matsumoto said that there’s still lot to discover  underwater and researchers will continue to do their jobs to introduce new species: “The ocean is full of species that are yet to be described by science. The ocean is the world’s largest habitat…we need to know more about it.”

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