A diver made a disturbing discovery during a nighttime swim off the coast of Cozumel, Mexico.
Pedro Valencia first spotted a bizarre creature and realized it was not just one but several different animals working together as one, reports the Mirror.
The group of organisms, which are extremely rare and fragile, are known as a siphonophore and are rarely found alive.
“As I was swimming looking for creatures to capture in video, I saw something slightly bigger than the rest of the particles that were floating around,” Valencia told the Mirror.
“When I approached I noticed it wasn’t one single animal, but a siphonophore with a fish stuck to its stinging cells.”
The 34-year-old scuba instructor knew from the way that the fish was positioned that it was not hitching a ride but about to be eaten. On top of that, siphonophores are predatory carnivores, surviving off a diet of copepods, small crustaceans and small fish.
In Valencia’s footage, the creature drifts through the waters with an eerie glow while the head pulsates with breathing movements. The lifeless fish is dragged along by the ghostly creature.
“This is very uncommon so I thought right away that something was off. Fish often use jellyfish as protection but not siphonophores,” Valencia said. “This was an indication that this was not a symbiotic relation but more a predator-prey kind of thing.”
After posting his footage onto the internet along with his theory, he said he was immediately validated.
“The general opinion is that this was a fish caught by the siphonophore, I do not know if the fish was food or just found itself trapped and died by the stinging mechanism of its appendages,” said Valencia. “I’m no biologist but I’ve seen enough siphonophores to know this was a special capture.”
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