Huge Mystery Jellyfish Washes Ashore

Found by a family combing a beach in Tasmania, the giant invertebrate is new to science.

By | February 7, 2014

The Lim children inspect the giant jelly on a Tasmanian beach.AFP/JOSIE LIMThe Lim family was out for a stroll on a beach in Howden in the Australian state of Tasmania last month when they stumbled across a massive jellyfish that had been washed ashore and measured about 1.5 meters in diameter. The Lims took a photo of the beast and sent it to the country’s federal science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). It turns out that the creature they found was so new to science that it hadn’t yet been named.

Lisa-ann Gershwin, a CSIRO biologist, had been hearing stories of the jellyfish, likely a new species of lion’s mane jellyfish, for years, but had never seen proof of their impressive bulk. "It boggles the mind. I mean, it's so big,” she told The Sydney Morning Herald. “I knew that the species gets fairly large, but I didn't know that it gets that large. It was really a surprise to me when they forwarded the photo to me."

Gershwin said that she’d received reports of large, white-ish jellyfish with pink coloration in their centers in the waters around Tasmania lately, and had recently collected a sample of the species, one of three new lion’s mane jellyfish she’s found. She added that she’ll be submitting a paper soon that will formally name all three species.

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