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Thursday, November 19, 2020

Sea Creatures –Terra Sea Merge



I’ve mentioned several times before how research on the deep sea is still lacking in many areas. Each Oceania: The Underwater City book, I try to incorporate new, rare species of the deep. However, by book four, I am running out of deep-sea creatures native to the Pacific Ocean to include in the newer novels that haven’t been featured before. Thus, for Terra Sea Merge, I had only one new species: Deepstaria enigmatica. You may remember that it was briefly mentioned and seen in Shark Station, but it wasn’t in the wild so I did not include it in previous sea creature features. So, now, Deepstaria enigmatica will have one all dedicated to itself. The other sea creatures in the novel have all had been featured in one of the previous sea creature blog posts. At the bottom of this post, I’ll link to all the others in case you missed them or would like to read them again. Also, I could not find any public domain photos for this species, but my list of references (particularly #3) have great photos of one. Clickhere if you want to see a photo before reading.


Deepstaria enigmatica

Deepstaria enigmatica is a rarely seen jellyfish lacking tentacles. Instead, it consists solely of a net of interconnected canals making up their digestive system and other bodily functions. The main part of the jellyfish is its bell(1), which has been observed to be as wide as a meter across(2). The bell is so thin and fragile that it can easily be torn, even by something as simple as water movement. Most of what we know about Deepstaria enigmatica comes from a specimen collected in 1966. It was named and described by F. S. Russell in 1967. There are only two known species in the genus Deepstaria: Deepstaria enigmatica and Deepstaria reticulum. Neither species has tentacles, but both possess a similar membranous umbrella(3).


Little is known about Deepstaria enigmatica; their biology, behavior, maximum depth, reproductive biology, and full distribution are still mysteries to science. What is known for sure about their distribution is that they are found in the Atlantic, Indian, Pacific, and Southern Oceans(2)(3). Predators are unknown, but shrimps and crabs have been observed feeding on the carcass of Deepstaria enigmatica. As for feeding, researchers believe they may use close their bell to trap their prey. During a deep-sea research dive in 2017, scientists observed the jellyfish close its bell in less than three seconds. Once closed, a small hole remained open that they noticed didn’t increase or decrease upon the jellyfish being disturbed. They hypothesized that it may use this closing of the bell for locomotion in addition to feeding(3).



(1) https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2018/05/rare-jellfish-filmed-mexico-animals-spd/

(2) https://www.sciencealert.com/rare-jellyfish-deepstaria-enigmatica-caught-on-film-rov-hercules

(3) http://digitallibrary.amnh.org/handle/2246/6874


 Links to Other Sea Creature Features Blog Posts in the Oceania: The Underwater City Series:

Oceania: The Underwater City

Sea Creatures Part 1— Marine Life

Sea Creatures Part 2—Intertidal Life

Sea Creatures Part 3—Deep-Sea Life

Allie's Return

Sea Creatures Part 1 – Sunlit Marine Life

Sea Creatures Part 2 – Marine Deep-Sea Life in Allie’s Return

Shark Station

Sea Creatures Part 1 - Sharks

Sea Creatures Part 2 – Animals of the Pelagic

Sea Creatures Part 3 – Animals of the Abyss


This concludes the sea creatures feature for Terra Sea Merge. Unlike the other novels, this is the only one. The next blog post will be about my research for the novel. I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post even though it was short. If you have any questions or comments, you can leave them directly on my blog or email me at elizataye@gmail.com. I love hearing from my readers!