Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Giant jellyfish pops up in the north-west

An unusually huge toxic jellyfish has been found off the north-west coast of Western Australia.

The Keesingia gigas is one of two new species of Irukandji jellyfish recently discovered by scientist and Marine Stinger Advisory Services director Dr Lisa-Ann Gershwin.

Dr Gershwin says this jellyfish is of particular interest because it is so much larger than usual jellyfish causing Irukandji syndrome, resulting in pain, nausea, vomiting and in extreme cases, stroke and heart failure.

"It's just a whopping huge animal. We normally measure Irukandji in terms of size of your pinky or thumb nail—this one is more the size of an arm," Dr Gershwin says.

Dr Gershwin says the Keesingia gigas was first photographed in the 1980s but a specimen was only captured in 2013 near Shark Bay by marine scientist and Dr Gershwin's previous supervisor John Keesing, after whom the jellyfish is named.

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