When it comes to deep-sea camo, these jellies …

When it comes to deep-sea camo, these jellies make us red with envy! 

Animals that live in the deep waters of the ocean use a cunning way to camouflage themselves and hide from both their predators and prey: The color red.

At the surface of the ocean, we see a red animal because red light is being reflected off it, but in the deep sea, the color red actually appears black. This happens because red has the longest wavelength in the visible light spectrum, and therefore the least amount of energy to penetrate through the water. Once you’ve traveled deep enough below the surface, the amount of red light decreases so that anything with the color red becomes invisible in the darkness. 

This red paper lantern jelly, Pandea rubra, and its intense crimson disguise was spotted, illuminated, and recorded by our colleagues at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). After recording, their remotely operated vehicle turned away, and as their lights disappeared, the jelly slipped quietly back into invisibility.

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