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article imageNew 'killer' jellyfish found in Australian Waters

By Tim Sandle     Aug 16, 2014 in Environment
A newly discovered species of Irukandji jellyfish has been found off the Australian coast. Analysis suggests that the jellyfish can cause stroke and heart failure if a human was to be stung.
The new, potentially deadly, species of jellyfish has been found off the coast of Western Australia. The discovery was made by Lisa-ann Gershwin of Australia’s Marine Stinger Advisory Services. The discovery came about after Gershwin studied a specimen caught in 2013, as well as various photographs of jellyfish from the 1980s. The new species has been named Keesingia gigas, dubbed after marine biologist John Keesing, according to The Guardian.
The species name "gigas" offers a clue to its size. At a meter wide, K. gigas is the largest Irukandji jellyfish described to date. Given that other similar jellyfish can inflict painful and sometimes fatal stings, it is assumed that the sting of K. gigas would be very harmful to people. According to SciNews, Irukandji jellyfish are able to fire their stingers into their victim. They are highly venomous and dangerous, hospitalizing up to 100 people annually in Australia.
Discussing the find, Gershwin told told the Australian Associated Press that the new species appears to lack tentacles: "Jellyfish always have tentacles . . . that’s how they catch their food. I think more probably it does have tentacles but by random chance the specimens that we photographed and obtained don’t have them anymore. I think it’s probably a fairly tame explanation — I just don’t know what it is.”
The new jellyfish has been described in the journal Records of the Western Australian Museum.
More about Jellyfish, Australia, Water, Jelly, Irukandji
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