Purple jellyfish may be a new species
Thursday, May 22, 2014, 5:00 PM - A bright purple jellyfish with a head the size of a dinner plate, metre-long tentacles and multiple microscopic mouths may be a brand new species.
Lifeguards in Queensland, Australia discovered the creature, which was still alive, at Coolum Beach on Wednesday.
They’ve since turned it over to marine experts who have been left scratching their heads.
Scientists have never seen a jellyfish sporting such a vibrant colour. Its unknown whether or not the jellyfish has the ability to sting but if it does, the bright colour could indicate that its tentacles are particularly potent.
Biologists believe the jellyfish could belong to the thysanostoma species, which also has long tentacles that are covered in tiny mouths.
But this breed of jellyfish is usually brown or beige and is rarely seen in Australian waters -- prompting speculation that the purple jellyfish may be a new species entirely.
"The fact that this jellyfish is big, the fact that it’s been found in a different locality and the fact that it’s a spectacularly different colour ... makes me wonder whether this really is a new species," biologist Dr. Lisa Gerswhin told the Brisbane Times.
"It’s really exciting."
Scientists say they’re looking forward to learning more about this seemingly-alien creature.
If it does prove to be from another world, we know where its spaceship is located.