Last month, a family gathering seashells on a Tasmanian beach stumbled upon a grotesque monstrosity: a slimy white-and-pink jellyfish measuring nearly five feet in diameter, whose very existence has scientists puzzled.
According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, this creepy specimen – which falls under a group called “snotty” jellyfish (or “snotties”) for pretty obvious reasons – is the first physical evidence ever provided of a creature that had previously been the subject of many sightings in the region.
The family who made the discovery sent a photo to the CSIRO (Australia's National Science Agency), who later took samples of the creature. Experts believe it could be an offshoot of the venomous “lion's mane” jellyfish (Cyanea capillata), which can grow up to seven feet in diameter, with tentacles reaching nearly 40 feet long. Below is a life-size model of the lion's mane jellyfish, on display at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History:
Photo: Tim Evanson via Flickr
"It boggles the mind,” said Dr. Lisa-Ann Gershwin of the CSIRO in an interview with the Herald. “I knew that the species gets fairly large, but I didn't know that it gets that large.”
She also said the agency has experienced a major spike in sightings of the creature in the past couple of months: "We don't actually know what's going on that's led, not only to this species, but many, many types of jellyfish blooming in massive numbers," Gershwin said. “To me, the real question is... what impact are all of these mouths having on the ecosystem, and what in turn does that mean to us?"
Gershwin has a name picked out for the new species, but for now she's keeping that information secret. Listen to the full interview below:
This isn't the only sign of invasion by bizarre beach blobs... check out the clip of this alien monstrosity found recently in Brazil!