New species of jellyfish with 24 eyes discovered in Hong Kongtext_fields
Hong Kong: A new species of box jellyfish were found in the Mai Po Nature Reserve. The cube-shaped, colorless creature has 24 eyes.
It has been named Tripedalia maipoensis to reflect the locality it was found.
This is a venomous species with tentacles up to 10 cm long that resembles boat paddles. This allows the jellyfish to produce strong thrusts which means it can swim faster than other kinds of jellyfish.
Baptist University (HKBU), WWF-Hong Kong, Ocean Park Hong Kong, and the University of Manchester collected jellyfish samples from a brackish shrimp pond over 2020-2022. The new jellyfish was found in the sample.
Qiu Jianwen, a professor at HKBU, said although the species is currently only known in Mai Po, the team believes the species is also distributed in the adjacent waters of the Pearl River Estuary. "Our discovery of Tripedalia maipoensis in Mai Po — a relatively well-studied area in Hong Kong — highlights the rich diversity of marine life in Hong Kong and even the whole of China." Box jellyfish are poorly known in Chinese marine waters and this is the first discovery of a new box jellyfish in Chinese coastal waters.
The study mentioned that box jellyfish are among some of the highly venomous marine animals and they are widely found in tropical waters. Currently, there are 49 species of box jellyfish. Chironex fleckeri found in Australia is the most deadly as it can grow tentacles up to 3m long.