Here’s a sight that’s probably never been filmed before: the bloody comb jelly in the middle of a jelly dump.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium posted the footage to its Twitter feed this week, noting that the jelly poop actually sparkles.
“Move on, unicorns,” the organization wrote in a follow-up tweet:
The blood-bellied comb jelly, which is a ctenophore and not a true jelly, is featured in the aquarium’s new exhibit, Into the Deep.
“Ironically, in the depths where the bloody belly lives, it is nearly invisible to predators,” the aquarium noted on its website. “In the darkness of the deep sea, animals that are red appear black and blend into the dark background.”
Since Bloodcomb Jelly’s prey can be bioluminescent, this blood-red gut hides what it has eaten, thus hiding the Jelly as well.
“A predator with a shiny gut could easily become prey,” the website said.
George Matsumoto, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) marine biologist who discovered bloody comb jelly in 2003, told Mercury News he didn’t think it could ever be exposed because it would melt when collected. .
“I’ve never had an intact specimen. I’ve never seen it under a microscope,” he said. “It was so sensitive to temperature changes that I thought it couldn’t be displayed.”
As a result, he estimated that only two dozen people had observed Bloody Comb Jelly in his lifetime – so far. And if they’re lucky, they might even see it release some glittery unicorn poop.
The aquarium posted the footage on its YouTube channel, along with a soundtrack:
MBARI also shared more information about Blood Comb Jelly here: