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Diver Captures Stunningly Rare Deep Sea Creature In Otherworldly Footage

Rainbow tripod fish larva sport beautiful rainbow "tutus" while swimming off the coast of Mexica.

You will not be alone if you hear “Rainbow Tripod Fish” and think of a favorite childhood book, “The Rainbow Fish,” by Marcus Pfister. The book adorns bookshelves in homes and classrooms everywhere. As wonderful as that book is, we will discuss a different type of rare sea creature today—the rainbow tripod fish. While pretty elusive and unattractive as an adult, the rainbow tripod fish is stunning in its larval form.

In larval form, the rainbow tripod fish displays beautiful umbrella of rainbow fins that help these rare deep sea creatures avoid predators.
Image from Facebook.

Scuba-diving instructor Frida Yolotzin captured footage of this rare deep-sea creature while diving off the coast of Mexico near Cozumel. The divers were performing a “blackwater dive,” meaning they were in complete darkness except for light from floodlights suspended in the water. Frida caught a glimpse of rainbow shimmer and captured the following fantastic footage.

On Instagram, Frida said, “It was this extraordinarily beautiful fish swimming up and reflecting our lights in such a surreal way, being by far the most precious animal I’ve ever seen.” The rainbow tripod fish sports an array of fins resembling a rainbow tutu. The coloration and mesmerizing flow of the fins make the fish larva look similar to jellyfish, deterring predators.

These Rare Sea Creatures Live On The Ocean Floor

The rainbow tripod fish explores shallower water only in the larval stage. Adults reside on and near the ocean floor, in waters ranging from 2,950 to 15,400 feet deep. They use their “tripod” to stand on the ocean floor, waiting for food to swim by.

Adult rainbow tripod fish standing on and swimming near the ocean floor.
Images from Imgur.

In an Instagram post from another diver, we can see more variation in the rainbow tripod fish larvae. While these tiny fish are beautiful, they will become eyeless as adults and spend their lives in darkness. A seemingly sad fate for such beautiful babies.

If you enjoyed this glimpse of rainbow tripod fish and our brief exploration of these rare deep sea creatures, please share it with friends.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here and here.

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