Thursday, 15 May 2014

The Beautiful New Jellyfish Identified in the Gulf of Venice

By Stefano Piraino, University of Salento | May 14, 2014 01:16am ET

This article was originally published at The Conversation.The publication contributed the article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

A bloom of new jellyfish started appearing in the Gulf of Venice last autumn. They were first detected by a fisherman from Chioggia in north-east Italy when hundreds of the beautiful yellow species filled his nets. News of this reached my team at the University of Salento’s MED-JELLYRISK and VECTORS projects through a citizen-science initiative we run that gets locals to report jellyfish sightings along the Italian coasts.

When photos of the new jellyfish started to filter through, it was immediately clear that we were dealing with a previously undescribed species. To an expert eye, the differences were manifest. The white horseshoe-shaped, ribbon-like gonads, the yellow-ochre colour of the jellyfish umbrella, the pronounced warts on its surface and the long and delicate, transparent arms were distinctive elements. They altogether indicated the jellyfish was something new to any species that’s previously been categorised.

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