Monsters dwell in the deep ocean—or at least the inspiration for the monsters we make up. This clip shows a hyperiid amphipod, the reality behind the fictional, horrifying, extraterrestrial creations of the 1979 move Alien. These amphipods take over other creatures’ bodies for their own benefit. In this case, it’s commandeered another filter-feeding invertebrate, known as a salp.
“It will capture those salps, and basically rip the inside of the salp out, but keep enough of the cells on the inside that it’s more or less alive. And then [it] uses the salp as its own little house,” said the NOAA researcher narrating the full video.
“I think it’s rare that you see one animal wearing another animal as a hat,” said one researcher on the initial livestream.
In a rather ominous response, another scientist then chimed in with, “not in the deep sea.”