1 Tahrcountry Musings: New Family of Jellyfish Discovered off the Coast of Tasmania

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New Family of Jellyfish Discovered off the Coast of Tasmania

Researchers from the Queen Victoria Museum and Gallery in Launceston and the South Australian Museum have discovered a new species of jellyfish (Csiromedusa medeopolis) recently off the coast of Tasmania.
In an instance of what we can call as serendipity the discovery was made off the jetty of a wharf belonging to Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
The new finding represents not only a new species but also a new family. Discovery of a new family is very uncommon feature nowadays and the scientists are justifiably elated. It belongs to the narcomedusa group of jellyfish that are found in deep water.  Many new species were hauled in by the scientists but this jellyfish stood out from the rest as it had a structure that was totally different from any known species of jellyfish.
The new species is shaped like a flying saucer with a hole in the top of its head from where the gonads stick out prominently.
More research is needed to find out the details of the life cycle of the newly discovered species. Usually jellyfish have two stages in their life cycle. They start as polyps floating or attached to the ocean floor, rocks or clumps of algae. From the polyp stage comes out the jellyfish that floats in the ocean currents. The mature jellyfish releases sperm and eggs into the water, and these are fertilized outside the jellyfish in majority of the species.

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