Like a big red spaceship, this giant and otherworldly jelly cruises the depths of the Pacific. Discovered by our colleagues at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Tiburonia granrojo, or “big red,” is aptly named—its bell can grow to reach 3.3 feet across!
Despite its large size, Tiburonia granrojo wasn’t encountered until 1993 by MBARI scientists observing the deep sea using video cameras on deep-diving remotely operated vehicles (ROVs)—in fact, the jelly is named after MBARI’s ROV Tiburon, which was retired in 2008. Even after its first recorded sighting, big red wasn’t recognized as a new species until several years later when MBARI researcher George Matsumoto was first called in to identify it. It’s incredible to think that something so large and so widespread evaded scientists for so long, and it makes you wonder—what other mysteries of the deep sea are still out there for us to discover?