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A New Species of Giant Jellyfish Pops Up on Australian Beaches

Travelers Today       By    Althea Serad

Updated: Feb 23, 2014 10:23 AM EST

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The humongous jellyfish is a giant 5-foot diameter new jellyfish species that slimed its way to a beach in Australia last month.

The new species of jellyfish is now called "big snotty", according to CNN.

This delighted Lisa-ann Gershwin, a scientist at Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.

Gershwin told the Sydney Morning Herald, "I'm just rapt by it, honestly. It's such an amazing find."

According to news reports, the jellyfish slimed its way and was discovered on the southern Australian island of Tasmania by a family there while they were collecting shells. 12-year-old Xavier Lim said in a report from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, "We were at the beach looking for shells and dad was like 'Whoa! Look at that'...I kind of touched it...it was pretty cool."

Scientist Lisa-ann Gershwin said that the milky white species with pink in the middle has not been classified yet by science. However, they have been seen before this incident. Also, recently, they are seen more in the beaches at Tasmania than ever.

In an interview with the Herald, Gershwin said, "All of a sudden I started getting all these calls, and all these people sending me photographs. Sure enough, this thing is an absolute menace this season; it's been around in large numbers."

Contrary to common notions, these species of jellyfish are not deadly to humans. The scientist was quoted by Australian Broadcasting saying "If you touched it or whacked into [it] when you were swimming it is very painful. It's not life-threatening, but it will sting you, it will wake you up."

She shared that before Christmas, she got a hold of some smaller specimens of the new species. "I've been ... working with jellyfish for a long time here and I've seen a lot of big jellyfish, but this one's really big," The scientist said that they are prolific.

She also told the Herald, "We don't actually know what's going on that's led [to], not only to this species, but many, types of jellyfish blooming in massive numbers. Jellyfish do bloom as a normal part of their life cycle, but not usually this many."

Gershwin added that she has been working to get a scientific name to identify the new jellyfish, which she believes is related to a previously identified jellyfish in the area called lion's mane, or sometimes "snotties."

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