Rare footage of a gigantic sunfish shot in September of 2013 has gone viral – again. I can see why! This crazy video shows a huge sunfish slowly emerging from the deep, surrounded by divers that look tiny in comparison. 🐟
Sunfish, or Mola, are the heaviest of all the bony fish, with large specimens reaching 14 feet (4.2 meters) vertically and 10 feet (3.1 meters) horizontally and weighing nearly 5,000 pounds (2,268 kilograms). But don’t worry, they are harmless to humans despite their impressive size. They’d rather snack on jellyfish.
This amazing video was captured on film by photographer Miguel Pereira off the coast of Portugal. He was left in awe by his experience. “When diving with a GoPro I saw the giant sunfish almost at surface level and practically static. The sunfish seemed not to be bothered by our presence at all and followed us for 15 minutes,” Pereira explained.
The original Facebook post already has more than 4.5 million views. I have to admit, it is pretty hard to look away from. Share this crazy video with your friends!
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This adorable seven-inch, deep sea octopus is a species rarely seen by humans. In fact, very little is known about the life history of these animals. They are small, fragile, and gelatinous, with relatively large eyes. The funny thing is they don’t have a name yet!
Stephanie Bush, a postdoctoral fellow at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), is researching this cartoony creature and has the difficult task of finding it an appropriate name. Until they know what to formally call it, researchers are simply referring to it as the “flapjack octopus,” which belongs with its cousins in the Opisthoteuthis family.
“I was thinking about what my options are [for naming it], and I wanted it to be something indicative of the characteristic of the species. Since they’re so cute, I thought I could name it the Opistoteuthis adorabilis,” Bush told ABC News.
They have a well defined web just under their tentacles that allows them to parachute around the water. The fins above their eyes helps them steer!
In their exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, these un-described cephalopods live in a tank specially designed to imitate the cold, low-oxygen environment of their deep-sea habitat.
The image below shows the flapjack octopus (Opisthoteuthis sp.) on exhibit. Researchers use a red light to display this species because the octopus can’t see red light. This makes it think it’s safe in the darkness of the deep sea, just like its natural habitat.
Bush and her MBARI team collected about 15 specimens last year using a remotely-operated vehicle along Monterey Canyon in the eastern Pacific. Those little guys now live at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
For more information about the flapjack octopus check out this awesome ‘Science Friday’ video! 🐙
I have to admit, I’m a bit terrified of deep sea creatures. I mean, 95% of the ocean floor remains unexplored. That is A LOT of room for giant squid to roam. Lucky for me, NOAA decided to explore the waters off of Puerto Rico in search of the deep sea life that haunts my dreams.
From April 9 to April 30, 2015, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer explored largely uncharted deep-sea ecosystems and seafloor in the vicinity of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. What they found – using state of the art technology – will amaze you!
Quartz posted this incredible video to their Facebook page, using footage gathered from NOAA. Some of these creatures are so new – they don’t even have names.
Océano Profundo 2015
Legs 1 and 2 of the mission focused on mapping the seafloor where primarily only low-resolution satellite or topographic data existed previously. Leg 3 of the expedition featured some of the deepest remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dives ever conducted in the region and collected critical deep-water environmental data that will improve ecosystem understanding and inform federal and local resource managers.
Why Puerto Rico?
According to NOAA, a diversity of seafloor features lie just offshore Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands that include trenches, seamounts, numerous submarine canyons, valleys, and troughs. These features likely contain valuable and vulnerable ocean resources, but very little is known about them, making this an important area to survey.
It is crucial to explore this area for several reasons:
It is tectonically active, with seismic hazards
It includes a large section of U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone
One of the major fisheries in the area is deepwater snapper, but little is known about snapper populations there
It is of potential interest for marine protected area managers, those creating ocean usage planning maps, and sanctuary managers
NOAA did a fantastic job of documenting their journey, allowing scientists and the public access to mission logs, daily reports, photos, video, and live underwater video feeds.
During the dives, Okeanos Explorer’s two-body ROV system continuously captured high-definition video, which the ship transmitted to the Office of Ocean Exploration and Research’s website, www.oceanexplorer.noaa.gov, where anyone could follow along in near-real time!
NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, “America’s Ship for Ocean Exploration,” is the only federally funded U.S. ship assigned to systematically explore our largely unknown ocean for the purpose of discovery and the advancement of knowledge. Telepresence, using real-time broadband satellite communications, connects the ship and its discoveries live with audiences ashore. Visit the NOAA Marine Operations Center Okeanos Explorer page for operations and crew information 🙂