Watch Hypnotic Video of Ghostly Giant Phantom Jelly in California's Monterey Bay

A "ghostly" giant phantom jelly has been filmed at a depth of 3,200 feet in Monterey Bay, off the coast of California.

The footage was captured by Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) scientists using a remote-operated vehicle (ROV). This is one of only nine times a giant phantom jelly, Stygiomedusa gigantea, has been observed by the MBARI.

The hypnotic 53-second long clip shows the brownish jelly floating around the bay, with its arms trailing behind as it moves away.

"The bell of this deep-sea denizen is more than one meter [3.3 feet] across and trails four ribbon-like oral (or mouth) arms that can grow more than 10 meters in length," a statement from the MBAIR said.

"The giant phantom jelly was first collected in 1899. Since then, scientists have only encountered this animal about 100 times. It appears to have a worldwide distribution and has been recorded in all ocean basins except for the Arctic. The challenges of accessing its deep-water habitat contribute to the relative scarcity of sightings for such a large and broadly distributed species."

The giant phantom jelly is thought to be one of the largest invertebrate predators in the deep ocean, the BBC reported following a sighting off the coast of Mexico in 2010.

giant phantom jelly
The giant phantom jelly filmed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. © 2021 MBARI

More footage emerged in 2015, with a giant phantom jelly filmed in the Gulf of Mexico.

Before ROVs became widely used, scientists relied on trawl nets to find and study deep-sea species. "These nets can be effective for studying hardy animals such as fishes, crustaceans, and squids, but jellies turn to gelatinous goo in trawl nets," the MBAIR said.

"The cameras on MBARI's ROVs have allowed MBARI researchers to study these animals intact in their natural environment. High-definition—and now 4K—video of the giant phantom jelly captures stunning details about the animal's appearance and behaviors that scientists would not have been able to see with a trawl-caught specimen."

glowing jellyfish
The glowing jellyfish seen in the Mariana Trench in 2016. NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas

Jellyfish are one of the creatures that are able to survive at incredible ocean depths. In 2016, researchers found a species of glowing jellyfish living near the Mariana Trench—the bottom of which represents the deepest known point in all of Earth's oceans. This jellyfish, which was informally named Enigma Seamount, was pictured at 3,700m (12,100 feet).

The largest known jellyfish is the lion's mane jellyfish, Cyanea capillata, which has tentacles that can stretch up to 120 feet.