Even when you think we know all other is to know about the outdoors, something new and awesome comes along. Even after all of our time on this planet, humans are still finding new creatures and documenting them in photos and videos. A recent dive off the coast of Papua New Guinea revealed one of these rare box jellyfish – capturing it on video for the first time ever.
This isn’t a small jellyfish, and it isn’t what you immediately think of when you think of the strange sea creature. However, this large specimen is sure to get your blood pumping if you’re a lover of all things nature. It is truly a stunning and beautiful creature, that we don’t really know a whole lot about.
Watch as it floats through the water, tentacles dragging behind, and its insides pumping along the way.
There has only been one previous sighting of this rare species.
Chirodectes maculatus was first observed after one of these jellyfish was captured near the edge of the Great Barrier Reef back in May of 1997. While most types of box jellyfish as venomous to people, this particular species is not known to be. However, I wouldn’t let it put any of those tentacles near me.
This video doesn’t show everything about the animal, but it’s good enough to know that this is indeed maculatus.
Dr. Allen Collins, a zoologist with the Smithsonian Institue National Museum of Natural History, explained what he saw.
“It is not possible to make out all of the characters of the species Chirodectes maculatus from the video (some are internal), but it certainly fits very well based on what one can observe.”
Large Jellyfish Species Had an Identity Crisis
When a new species is found, sometimes they can be misplaced. There was a lot of work done with this particular species. When those Australian researchers were able to bring in their specimen back in 1997, it was preserved. At the time, they didn’t want to dissect it out of worry that they would ruin the specimen. Only external notes were made.
The animal was first detailed by a team in 2005, and at first, it was marked as Chiropsalmus. This was only for a year until Lisa-Ann Gershwin was able to publish further work on the jellyfish, officially moving it to the correct genus of Chirodectes. Things such as color patterns and spots on the species made all the difference.
What has shocked folks more than anything is how well hidden these jellyfish are. They are large animals. How do they stay out of our watchful eyes?
“That something so large and conspicuous in appearance would only be seen twice is pretty surprising,” Collins said. “But that said, a lot of diversity is rare. It tells me that we still have a lot of exploration to undertake.”