Footage shows a bizarre ‘alien creature’ transforming into a completely new beast 3,700ft underwater, with social media users left stunned by the strange being.
The clip shows the creature floating along minding its own business, but around 40 seconds in it suddenly morphs into another shape – supposedly a response to the ROV thrusters.
After being posted by YouTuber CaptainJRD back in 2013, it has racked up more than five million views, along with thousands of comments from baffled viewers.
CaptainJRD wrote: “This video was taken by an ROV (remotely operated vehicle) at a depth of 3753 ft in the Indian Ocean within close proximity to a drill wellhead.
“Near the end of the footage you can see the creature getting caught up in the output from the ROV thrusters.
“The video has not been altered and was taken off the East coast of Africa.”
The footage left many stunned, with one person commenting: “This is why I never go more than 1000 ft under water when I go to the beach.”
Someone else said: “This has to be the most alien-looking creature I've ever seen. The shape this creature had in the beginning looked like a strange ancient symbol, and the way it morphed from that stage into a luminous creature with pulsating lights is insane!!”
A third wrote: “Is no one gonna talk about how it looked like a disco ball after it transformed? This is an amazing discovery.”
A fourth added: “I’m a strong believer that everything deep deep down in the ocean looks like an alien. i also bet that there’s a lot of crazy species we’ve never seen before, hell I wouldn’t be that surprised if a 900 million year old dinosaur dwells at the bottom of the ocean.”
While some speculated it was a cephlapod in the process of inking, many others pointed out it is likely to be a ‘comb jelly’, saying it looked to be a ‘very unique species being that it is black pigmented’.
“Looks like a large comb jelly!” one said, adding: “Perhaps a deep-sea variant with black pigment to help it camouflage with its environment.”
According to Monterey Bay Aquarium, the comb jelly is a ‘beautiful, oval-shaped animal with eight rows of tiny comblike plates that it beats to move itself through the water’.
“As it swims, the comb rows break up (diffract) light to produce a shimmering rainbow effect,” the aquarium’s website says.
“Voracious predators of other jellies, some comb jellies can expand their stomachs to hold prey nearly half their own size.”
Come jellies come in a wide variety, with one spherical species known as a 'sea gooseberry' dangling its tentacles to catch smaller prey like copepods.
Steve Haddock, of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, also told Wired back in 2014 that there are some that look like biplanes known as lobates, which cruise along 'like crop dusters'.
Haddock said that, instead of hanging tentacles down to snag prey, these have tentacles situated along their mouth - grabbing prey and ferrying it inside.
Others have even adapted their cilia into serrated teeth, with Haddock explaining: "They have this whole field that looks almost like a velcro strip or something, with all of these teeth pointed in the same direction.
"And they can actually ratchet themselves over and bite off chunks of other jellies that they've captured."
He added: “I use the analogy of spiders.
“Because spiders can have a sticky web, they can leap out and ambush things, they can make little lasso webs. And ctenophores have similar range of different feeding modes, depending on the species.”