A previously unknown species of jellyfish off Cronulla on Australia’s east coast is puzzling researchers. The animal shares structural traits with the deadly box jellyfish that inhabit tropical waters Down Under, according to biologist Lisa Gershwin, who has described more than 200 species of cnidarians. However, the infamous box jellyfish – the “super-tuned Ferrari of death,” as Gershwin calls it – is not actually found in the sea off New South Wales.
“It’s a great find,” said the expert from Launceston, Tasmania, who has written non-fiction books on jellyfish. An experienced swimmer, who swims in the ocean off Cronulla near Sydney every day, filmed the unknown species twice in the past week about 800 meters from the shore. According to Gershwin, it is definitely not the box jellyfish from northern Australia (Chironex fleckeri from the group “sea wasps”). But until the jellyfish is finally identified, it is completely unclear whether it is dangerous or harmless.