Rare jellyfish in Papua New Guinea
On December 27, 2021, Dorian Borcherds of Scuba Ventures – Kavieng captured what researchers deem as a new, undiscovered species of jellyfish during the scuba diver excursion under the sea in Papua New Guinea. In his high-quality video, thanks to his underwater camera design, the scuba diver managed to capture the pulsating jellyfish, gliding through the water in its flimsy, whitish covering dotted with black circles and markings. What caught the attention of the scuba diver was the size of the jellyfish which he compared to a soccer ball – even a bit bigger than that – and how fast it swan through its red-colored tentacles that swayed along the water’s laps. Going up close, the video also displays red parts inside the jellyfish’s bell. They throbbed as the jellyfish glided through the water, creating a hypnotic movement as it went forward.
images courtesy of Scuba Ventures – Kavieng, via Facebook
Not the same as Chirodectes maculatus
Borcherds had never seen anything like it before, so the curious scuba diver wanted to find out whether the jellyfish could be identified or was already existing in the expanding list of the species. He sent the video to his daughter who then tried to help her father pinpoint the identity of the species through the use of a jellyfish app. It could not be identified through the app’s database, so the daughter uploaded the video to the forum.
Half an hour later, Lisa-ann Gershwin of the Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Service – as ABC News reported – reached out to express that she thought the jellyfish on the video was the same one caught on the Great Barrier Reef in May 1997 called Chirodectes maculatus. Dr. Gershwin collaborated with the Queensland Museum in Brisbane in finding out whether the jellyfish Borcherds captured was the same as Chirodectes maculatus, and after a bout of comparisons and analyses, the team found out that the jellyfish in Papua New Guinea is a new, undiscovered species.
new rare jellyfish filmed by a scuba diver has the size of a soccer ball
Finding out the origin of the rare jellyfish
Dr. Gershwin is yet to submit her research through a peer-reviewed paper, so scientists and researchers in the field could identify and classify the rare jellyfish. As she shares, the new species, just like every other discovery, has to be tested as the first run is considered a hypothesis. The jellyfish Borcherds caught needs to be formally named and classified before it can receive the technical term of ‘discovery.’ Dr. Gershwin shares with ABC News that she has been meticulous throughout the process since she was involved in the re-classification of the original species. In the meantime, another question the researchers are yet to answer is the origin and history of the rare jellyfish in Papua New Guinea.