The eerie and resilient creatures of the Arctic are little studied for good reason: It's really, really freaking cold out there. But scientists are beginning to learn more about them and their behavior and unique adaptations.
In a new paper published in the journal Marine Ecology, scientists report new sightings of a huge jellyfish trawling the depths of the ocean floor.
Not only is the footage (which you can watch at the bottom of this article) beautiful, it also represents a huge shift in how scientists understood the winter behavior of the northern sea nettle, the jellyfish in question.
The footage was taken by scientists from Columbia University's Earth Institute, who trekked out to the middle of the frozen Chukchi sea on a series of snowmobiles, braving the cold to see what might lay underneath the ice. Once they secured a good spot in the middle of the frozen, bleak nowhere, they drilled holes through the incredibly thick winter ice and dropped down a submersible camera.
The footage they captured is hauntingly beautiful, with the huge and stripey domes of northern sea nettles drifting in the unimaginably cold blue-green of the Arctic Ocean.
Before this discovery, scientists assumed these jellyfish could not survive the cold winters of the region. Instead, they thought the jellies reverted to their polyp forms to hibernate in a way until releasing tiny new medusae in the warming months of spring.
But now they have incontrovertible proof that these jellyfish are somewhat indestructible, even under the coldest of winters under many feet of ice.
These jellyfish are also not to be reckoned with. The bell of just one northern sea nettle can grow up to 60 centimeters long and its tentacles can stretch over 3 meters, according to the Independent.
The jellies can also sting, which likely won't kill you. But if you do happen to encounter one of these jellies in the dead of an Arctic winter, the cold will probably kill you first, if that's any consolation.