Ultra-rare ‘giant phantom’ sea creature with ‘mouth arms’ spotted off US coast

An extremely rare “giant phantom jellyfish” has been spotted lurking at a depth of more than 900 metres below the surface.

It marks only the ninth time local scientists in Monterey Bay in California, USA, have been able to capture the huge predator, as it lives so deep underwater it is very difficult for researchers to find it.

But marine biologists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) managed to secure incredible footage of the beast, which has huge “mouth-arms” that can reach a whopping 33 feet (10 metres) in length.

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Marking an impressive 3.3 feet wide (1 metre), boffins reckon the killer animal uses its long tentacles to trap its prey before dragging it into its mouth.

The terrifying jellyfish uses its glowing head to issue pulses that can propel it through the water, researchers fromLive Sciencesay.

It is also known as the Stygiomedusa gigantea and is one of the biggest jellyfish known to exist.

In a statement, MBARI said: "The giant phantom jelly was first collected in 1899. Since then, scientists have only encountered this animal about 100 times."

Crediting their new remote submarine with the discovery, they explained that they had come a long way from when scientists had to use large nets to make discoveries about the bottom of the ocean.

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They explained: "These nets can be useful for researching robust creatures like fish, crustaceans and squids.

"But jellies disintegrate into gelatinous goo in trawl nets."

The fascinating creatures are found in the murkiest and least-explored areas of the ocean.

They are one of the longest living animals in existence on our planet and have swam the Earth’s sees for around 500 million years – meaning they’ve been around for 250 million years more than the dinosaurs.

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