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Scientists discover new species of giant jellyfish hidden in Florida waters

  • Peter Schuchert and Richard Collins discovered the species after 91 scuba dives
  • They discovered Zancleopsis grandis – whose tentacles measure more than two inches
  • The duo found the large marine animal off the coast of Palm Beach, near the Gulf Stream.

Scientists in Florida have discovered a new species of giant jellyfish with tentacles more than two inches long.

Peter Schuchert and Richard Collins were to identify the sea creature with “unique” tentacles after making 91 night dives over several years near Palm Beach, off the Gulf Stream.

The duo was searching for a group of marine animals called hydromedusae (commonly known as jellyfish) during their dives.

These small animals live in deep water and only come to the surface at night, making them otherwise difficult to find.

Schuchert and Collins were able to collect a series of close-up photos of different types of jellyfish and select specimens for DNA extraction during their dives.

A side view of the recently discovered Zancleopsis grandis - whose tentacles measure over two inches

A side view of the recently discovered Zancleopsis grandis – whose tentacles measure over two inches

The manubrium of the Zancleopsis jellyfish

The manubrium of the Zancleopsis jellyfish

Through sequencing the 16S barcode, they were able to discover a new species of jellyfish named Zancleopsis grandis, also known as the large Zancleopsis jellyfish.

The new species is considered relatively large as its body reaches just over an inch in height and its tentacles measure over two inches in length, according to the published study.

Its body shape also changes as it moves, but it is long and narrow when static.

Zancleopsis grandis has two long primary tentacles covered in single, giant bulbs.

According to the Miami Herald, Schuchert explained that despite being different in size than regular jellyfish, Zancleopsis grandis also uses jet propulsion to move through water.

One of the photos shared in the study shows a large, elongated Zancleopsis jellyfish with the bulbs of its tentacles less pronounced and more club-shaped.

One of the photos shared in the study shows a large, elongated Zancleopsis jellyfish with the bulbs of its tentacles less pronounced and more club-shaped.

Jellyfish are known to move through water by sucking in liquid and then releasing it through a narrowed opening.

Collins confirmed that while many other species of jellyfish glow in the dark, Zancleopsis grandis does not.

One of the photos shared in the study shows a large, elongated Zancleopsis jellyfish with the bulbs of its tentacles less pronounced and more club-shaped.

Another photo showed the jellyfish’s body and tentacles close together, with its bulbs appearing much rounder and more prominent.

The duo also said in the study that they distinguished 49 species of hydrojellyfish during their research, 18 of which are new additions to the 56 reported in their 2021 paper.

Schuchert and Collins also wrote that they discovered another type of jellyfish known as Melicertum tropicalis.

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