Creepy 24-eyed sea creature discovered in Chinese waters is new species and it's related to most venomous marine beast | The Sun

A NEW species of jellyfish has been discovered by Hong Kong scientists, who say it is related to one of the most venomous marine animals known to man. 

The tiny, 24-eyed, box jellyfish was discovered in brackish shrimp ponds at the Mai Po Nature Reserve. 

Named Tripedalia maipoensis, the jellyfish were found in the area between April and May every year since 2020.

In June 2021, researchers were able to observe the newly discovered creature as water temperatures ranged from 20 to 29 degrees Celsius, and the salinity from 5.8 psu to 18 psu. 

The scientists, led by Department of Biology professor at Hong Kong Baptist University Qiu Jianwen, published their findings about the new species in a March 20 study with the journal Zoological Studies. 

Tripedalia maipoensis is similar to other box jellyfish, most notably because of its shape.

These jellyfish are classified as Cubozoa.

One of the most venomous marine animals known to man, the Australian Box Jellyfish, also falls under this classification, but a separate order. 

The researchers were able to determine it was a new species through comparing morphology of the jellyfish with other known types as well as genetic analysis.

Their discovery has brought the total number of species in the Tripedalia family of jellyfish from three to four.  

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Measuring at only half an inch long, it is unclear if the newly discovered jellyfish is able to sting or cause injury to humans. 

Qiu told Live Science that the animal appeared to be able to paralyze a small shrimp called Artemia. 

“But we did not touch the animal to feel the sting,” he said. 

Tripedalia maipoensis is completely transparent and has a colorless body. 

Its box shape is accompanied by 12 tentacles dangling down. 

These are connected to the body with a flat base “that looks like a boat paddle,” Qie said in an April 18 video detailing the research.

This makes it distinct from other similar jellyfish. 

The animal also has six eyes located on each side of its body – for a grand total of 24. Two of the eyes have lenses for image formation, while the others are only able to sense light. 

It is the first time a species in this family has ever been discovered in Chinese coastal waters, according to the researchers.

Box jellyfish related to the species are typically found in tropical and subtropical waters, they detailed. 

When they discovered the creature, it was living in the Hong Kong pond in abundance. 

Qiu told Live Science they found “up to 400 individuals” of the jellyfish living in just one area of the pond. 

As the ponds in the area are connected to adjacent waters of the Pearl River Estuary, there may be a chance the jellyfish also resides there. 

However, more research is needed to confirm. 

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Still, Qiu said his team is “thrilled” with their discovery.

“Finding a new species in Mai Po, where extensive research has been conducted, highlights the potential for more marine life discovery in the Hong Kong and even the Chinese coastal waters," he said in the video.

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