Are These Jellyfish The Most Beautiful Creatures In The Sea?

The lion's mane jellyfish lives in the world's northernmost oceans. Alexander Semenov

Jellyfish are among the most impossibly elegant, ethereal and eccentric-looking animals known to man. While many are also extremely dangerous, Russian marine biologist Alexander Semenov finds their hypnotic beauty so captivating that he’s prepared to dive in some of the world’s harshest, coldest oceans in order to capture their magnificence. The result of his endeavors can be seen in the following photographs, which were taken in locations such as the White Sea – which sits within the Arctic Circle – and the Sea of Okhotsk.

Head of the diving team at Moscow State University’s White Sea biological research station, Semenov explains on his website that he has become accustomed to diving in “unfavorable” conditions, and is dedicated to capturing the beauty of the deep on camera.

Many of his photographs feature jellyfish, which are members of the Cnidarian phylum, and come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. For instance, the following images show the incredible lion’s mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata), which dwells in the chilly waters of the northern Atlantic and northern Pacific oceans, and is the largest species of jellyfish.

Lion's mane jellyfish

Lion's mane jellyfish

Lion's mane jellyfish

The largest lion’s mane jellyfish ever recorded was found in Massachusetts, and had tentacles that stretched for an incredible 37 meters (120 feet).

The so-called pink helmet (Aglantha digitale) is a species of hydromedsae that can be found in some of the world’s northernmost seas, typically at depths of around 25 meters (82 feet) in the summer and 50 meters (164 feet) in the winter.

Pink helmet

Pink helmet

Phacellophora camtschatica – or the fried egg jellyfish – is as intimidating as it is dazzling, although it actually has a very weak sting. In fact, it is so mild that small crustaceans sometimes steal food from its grasp.

Fried egg jellyfish

Fried egg jellyfish

Finally, Chrysaora melanaste, which is also known as the northern sea nettle, lives at depths of up to 100 meters (328 feet), and boasts a mild sting that can irritate human skin but is unlikely to cause particularly serious injuries.

Northern sea nettle

Northern sea nettle

All photos by Alexander Semenov

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