Scientists Discover Possible New Species of Jellyfish With Stinging Warts and Extra Tentacles
This mysterious sea creature is frighteningly beautiful.
A new type of jellyfish boasting stinging warts and extra tentacles may have been discovered in a water column off the East Coast.
A remotely operated vehicle captured footage of the mysterious blood-red jellyfish at a depth of 2,297 feet during NOAA Ocean Exploration's 2021 North Atlantic Stepping Stones expedition off the mid-Atlantic states.
The delicate jellyfish belongs to the genus Poralia, which includes jellyfish with a bell-shaped top and up to 30 tentacles. There is only one other "described" member of that genus (Poralia rufescens), NOAA told McClatchy News.
"It appears that the jellyfish in the video has many more tentacles than seen in the described Poralia rufescens, leading scientists to believe the jellyfish is an undescribed species," NOAA said. "The jellyfish also seemed to have nematocyst warts on the exumbrella (the upper part or outside of the jellyfish's bell) that probably function both for defense but also to trap prey. The radial canals of this genus often branch randomly, which is not usual for other related jellyfish."
NOAA researchers told McClatchy News that they were unable to get a size estimate for the jellyfish.
The beautiful creature was amongst more than 650 individuals throughout the water column observed during the dive, including ctenophores, siphonophores, jellyfish, arrow worms, shrimp, larvaceans, and several different fishes.
For more information on NOAA's groundbreaking research expeditions, visit OceanExplorer.noaa.gov.