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A deep-sea valentine

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Uploaded on Feb 9, 2011

Reflections on red in the deep sea

The velvety red of a drifting jelly, the brick red of a vampire squid...many deep-sea creatures exhibit the colors of Valentine's Day. When pursuing the prey object of their desire, deep-sea creatures may use red as camouflage. Wavelengths of light in the red end of the visible spectrum are preferentially absorbed by seawater, and therefore red colors appear black in the deep sea. Red animals disappear into the darkness, enabling them to ambush unsuspecting prey or avoid a hungry predator.

The bright red lights you can see in some of the clips (e.g., the sea star at 01:22) are lasers from MBARI's remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and used to estimate sizes. The lasers are 29 cm apart.


1. Midwater jelly - Pandea rubra
2. Cock-eyed squid - Histioteuthis heteropsis
3. Siphonophore - Resomia dunni
4. Deep-sea jelly -- Voragonema
5. Mysid shrimp
6. Comb jelly - Beroe abyssicola
7. Cydippid comb jelly - Aulacoctena
8. Bubblegum gorgonian (Paragorgia arborea) on Davidson Seamount
9. Pandalopsis ampla
10. North Pacific Giant Octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) and Redbanded rockfish (Sebastes semicinctus)
11. Sea star -- Family Pterasteridae
12. Lithodid crab - Paralomis
13. New species of soft coral - Gersemia juliepackardae
14. Flapjack octopus - Opisthoteuthis
15. Brisingid sea star and sea cucumber (Paelopatides confundens)
16. Bone-devouring worms - Osedax rubiplumis
17. Vampire squid - Vampyroteuthis infernalis

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