• A team of marine biologists captured footage of the rare highfin dragonfish
  • Most dragonfishes are very dark black in color, but this one has bronze coloration
  • Dragonfishes are actually "cunning predators" of the deep sea

Scientists have caught a glimpse of the rare, bronze dragonfish off the coast of California. The video of the sighting shows the truly stunning coloration of the "deep-sea dragon."

Experts from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) were on a recent expedition aboard the Western Flyer research vessel when they happened to spot the highfin dragonfish (Bathophilus flemingi). They were "just outside" of Monterey Bay at a 300-meter (980-foot) depth, according to MBARI.

In the video shared by the organization, one can see the dragonfish swimming in the "dark depths" of Monterey Bay. While dragonfish's smooth skins are often pigmented with the "blackest blacks known to nature," the highfin dragonfish features stunning bronze coloration that even appears to shimmer when the lights hit it.

The scientists have already seen other dragonfishes in the deep sea of Monterey Bay, but the "beautifully bronze deep-sea dragon" is said to be the rarest.

"In more than three decades of deep-sea research and more than 27,600 hours of video, we've only seen this particular species four times!" MBARI noted.

"They are just amazing animals, and part of what is appealing is that color pattern," Bruce Robison, MBARI senior scientist and research lead of the team that spotted the highfin dragonfish, told LiveScience.

According to Robinson, the creature's bronze coloration is, indeed, "unlike" that of other deep-sea fish. It's possible that its color is a form of camouflage that lets it absorb the blue light in the depths, he explained.

"But when we shine our white lights on it, it's just gorgeous," Robison told the outlet.

But don't let their stunning appearance fool you, because dragonfishes are actually "cunning predators," according to MBARI. Even though they are strong swimmers, they opt to capture their prey by staying motionless. When prey finally comes close, they open their jaws wide and then snap their teeth shut.

One can see just how scary dragonfishes can be in this other video of another dragonfish species, the Aristostomias scintillans. In the clip, one can really see the "dagger-like" teeth, the intensity of its dark coloration, and even the hint of red light under its eye.

It's possible, MBARI noted, that the creature actually uses the bioluminescent organs producing the red light under its eye as "night vision goggles."

Indeed, the creatures of the deep are fascinating although they can also be a little scary.

Representation. Pixabay-Pexels