A giant jellyfish in Australia is being called a truly massive find on a beach this week, with the specimen nearly reaching 5 ft., or 1.5 meters. Experts are now in the process of trying to classify what they believe to be a new species of jellyfish that was recently found washed ashore by a family in the southern region of Tasmania. UK News reveals this Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, that while it is believed a similar jellyfish has been recorded in the past, it was not nearly as large and had not been beached.
The giant jellyfish was first discovered in Australia by a Tasmanian family, who immediately knew this was no ordinary animal discovery. After contacting a local marine biologist, it was confirmed that this jellyfish that had washed to shore was one very big find. The specimen measured out at a wide 1.5 meters, or almost a full 5 ft. from edge to edge. Lisa Gershwin, an animal and biological expert from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, has said that never before has a jellyfish of this size been named or classified.
"We know about this specimen but it hasn't been classified yet as a species, it hasn't been named," said the female scientist, who has been carefully studying jellyfish for well over 20 years in the area. "It is so big it took our breath away … It’s a whopper of an animal but it's not life-threatening, although it does sting."
Although related to the already massive lion’s mane jellyfish, the giant jellyfish Australia discovery remains something that appears to reach an even greater size. This new species is an exciting find at 5 ft., but something that doesn’t come as a complete surprise, added Gershwin. She noted that there has been a giant burst of jellyfish populations in nearby Tasmanian waters (some even washing to shores) within the past couple of months.
A majority of details behind this giant jellyfish of Australia remains a mystery, however. For example, its eating mechanism and breeding traits, as well as its primary habitat, are only conjecture at this point. Scientists hope that what information can be retrieved from the beached body of the animal might provide some clues.
"It's so big but we know nothing about it," added Gershwin. "It highlights again how much we still have to learn about the ocean."
The Lim family was said to be shocked to make such a massive discovery on the Tasmanian beach near Hobart.
"It blew our minds away,” said one family member. "It's not really jellyfish territory here and all we could do was stand back and admire it."