New jellyfish named after curious Australian schoolboy

2015-07-16 13:16

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Sydney - An Australian schoolboy who discovered a new species of jellyfish in a Queensland canal has had the tentacled creature named in his honour, scientists said.

Saxon Thomas was nine when he spotted a small, box-like jellyfish while fishing with a friend in 2013. Thinking it unusual, he removed it from the water with a net, and with help of his father sent it to Queensland Museum.

"We looked at it and we confirmed it was a new species so we named a new species after him," the museum's Merrick Ekins told AFP on Thursday.

"We thought about it and we thought, 'Why don't we highlight the fact that a young, keen, observant lad saw it and recognised this as interesting and thought that he should contact the museum'."

Ekins said three different specimens were found of the small jellyfish, which has a bell measuring about 3 to 4cm and tentacles stretching much longer.

"It's got a whole lot of scientific characteristics which make it unique," he said of the species named Chiropsella Saxoni and is also known as the "pygmy box jellyfish".

The much larger major box jellyfish, named for its box-like body, has extremely fast-acting venom in its tentacles and can kill within minutes.

"We don't think this one is deadly because no one has ever turned up dying from it, and it's rare," Ekins added. "But that doesn't mean it won't give someone a very nasty shock."

Ekins said while new species were rare for birds and mammals, there were "lots of jellyfish that are totally undescribed out there".

"A lot of people think that everything in the ocean has already been discovered but it hasn't. In terms of things in the ocean, there are thousands of things waiting to be discovered," he said.

Read more on:    australia  |  marine life
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