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Sunday, 10 August 2014

Ghost of the ocean

Though jellyfish tend to be the weirdest things, and thus one of the most fascinating, creatures in the ocean they’re also some of the most dangerous. From stepping on jellies that washed up on a shore to getting tangled in their tentacles while you relax in the water, if you frequently visit beaches, you likely have some close encounters with these goops of pain. Luckily, though, the most terrifying of the bunch are generally floating farther away than you’re likely to swim — such as a newly discovered, extremely venomous jelly that is baffling scientists because it doesn’t have any noticeable tentacles.

Discovered off the coast of where most monsters live in this world, Australia, the Keesingia gigas jellyfish was discovered by Lisa-ann Gershwin, of the Marine Stringer Advisory Services. The Keesingia is of a species of jelly, the Irukandji, that is usually as a small as a fingernail. The Keesingia is about the length of an arm, and scientists believe it can cause Irukandji syndrome, which can cause cardiac arrest within 20 minutes and kills its victim if not immediately treated.

The Keesingia was first photographed back in 1980, and the first live specimen was caught just last year, by its namesake John Keesing. As far as scientists can tell, though, the Keesingia gigas doesn’t have any tentacles — something all jellyfish have in order to catch food. The tentacles of a jellyfish contain a concentration of its stinging cells, which is how it attacks prey and unlucky beach-goers. Strangely, though, scientists working with the jelly have been stung by it despite its apparent lack of tentacles, and have even contracted Irukandji syndrome.

Despite the lack of visible tentacles, scientists feel that the Keesingia does have them. The running theory is that, thanks to random chance, the jellies that were photographed and captured over the years simply lost them for one reason or another. Whatever the actual explanation, Gershwin feels it’ll be “fairly tame.”

The Keesingia are found all over the world, so if you’re afraid of giant, venomous jellyfish that can give you Irukandji syndrome, just try be aware of your surroundings, and don’t swim into a giant pack of jellyfish for fun.

 Link: HERE