Bizarre sea creature caught on Gulf rig camera (video)

A great deal of mystery surrounds the photos above.

When the video they were pulled from was taken, where, and just exactly what the heck that thing is dancing in front of the underwater camera of an oil platform.

According to the news blog Zeibiz, scientists think the “large blob” swimming slowly toward the camera is the rarely seen jellyfish known as depstaria reticulum. That’s based on the hexagonal pattern on its skin. The video is believed to be shot in the Gulf of Mexico about two years ago.

These bizarre jellyfish can be up to 60 centimeters (about 2 feet) wide and are more apt to be found near the Antarctic than in the Gulf of Mexico.

An international team led by the University of Southampton in England has created the first global jellyfish database to map jellyfish populations in the oceans. The project is known as JeDI, for Jellyfish Database Initiative.

It’s not unusual for subsea cameras used by offshore oil and gas facilities to capture up-close shots of deep-sea creatures.

Houston-based subsea equipment provider Oceaneering recently was using such a camera (called a remotely operated vehicle, or ROV) for a Shell project when it captured this massive shark floating through the Gulf.