New Scientist reports that a team from BP passed the video, which was taken using a deep sea remote vehicle during oil rig maintenance, on to Daniel Jones of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton. Jones is part of a project called Serpent, which uses videos such as these -- all taken by oil companies and the like working in the deep sea -- to identify little-known marine life.
Bathyphysa conifera is a member of the order Siphonophorae. Siphonophores may look superficially like jellyfish -- and they're not too distantly related -- but they're far weirder. Siphonophores actually clone themselves in order to grow. Instead of a single body, one siphonophore is in fact a tightly knit colony of many organisms -- sometimes thousands of them.
The deadly Portuguese man o' war is Bathyphysa conifera's most famous cousin. But other, less toxic members of the order get scientists pretty excited, too: