This Bloody-Belly Comb Jelly Actually Poops Sparkles

This video is the sh*t! The bloody-belly comb jelly poops sparkles. This revelation comes thanks to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s new “Into the Deep” exhibit. The bloody-belly comb jelly is on display in the US for the first time ever. It lives in the deep sea and few people had ever seen it in person before. Even the scientist who discovered it used video from an ROV (remotely operated vehicle) to learn about it. Then it took aquarists years to make sure the comb jellies and other deep sea critters could be happy and healthy in the aquarium.

Comb jellies move through the water using small hair-like cilia along their edges. It’s those that catch the light and glow like rainbows as they swim. And now we know that when they poop, a trail of sparkles comes out. Monterey Bay Aquarium posted the video from one of the aquarists on its Twitter page, which we saw thanks to HuffPost. The only other known animals that poop sparkles are unicorns and people who consume too much edible glitter.

The aquarium has lots of fun facts about the bloody-belly comb jelly and other deep sea species on its website. Its name comes from the ruby color of its stomach. Many deep sea critters are red because that makes them nearly invisible to predators in the darkness of the deep sea. Having a red stomach likely masks the glowing of its sometimes bioluminescent food. Without the coloration, its own prey could make the bloody-belly comb jelly visible to predators.

A red bloody-belly comb jelly sparkles, as does the trail of poop next to it
Monterey Bay Aquarium

Comb jellies are one of the most beautiful, most mesmerizing animals to watch. Now you can see the bloody-bellies in person for the first time, along with other mysterious creatures from the deep ocean. What else will we learn from them?

Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth. 

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