New Jellyfish Species Found Could Have an Arsenal of Distinctive Venoms

A brand new species of jellyfish has been found deep under the waves, and it might possess venoms that we’ve by no means seen earlier than.

The brand new species, named Santjordia pagesi, was found at a depth of two,664 toes close to Japan’s Ogasawara Islands, floating round a deep-sea volcano generally known as the Sumisu Caldera.

The brand new jellyfish, which has been sighted solely twice, is an umbrella-shaped medusa species, measuring round 4 inches throughout and with a purple cross within the middle of its physique, in line with a paper within the journal Zootaxa. This impressed its widespread identify: the St. George’s Cross Medusa.

A brand new jellyfish species is seen from above and the aspect (inset). Scientists named the jellyfish Santjordia pagesi due to its vivid purple abdomen that resembles the Cross of St. George.

Dhugal John Lindsay/JAMSTEC

The jellyfish was captured from the depths and had its DNA analyzed, which revealed that it was so distantly associated to all different species of jellyfish that scientists wanted to designate not solely a brand new species identify however an entire new genus and subfamily.

“We found and described a brand new species of deep-sea jellyfish, which has at the moment solely ever been recorded from inside a single, mineral-rich undersea volcanic caldera,” paper co-author Dhugal Lindsay advised Newsweek.

“It was so completely different to the rest but described that we would have liked to erect not solely a brand new genus but additionally a brand new subfamily to include it

Lindsay is a researcher on the Japan Company for Marine-Earth Science and Know-how.

As a result of this new species is so evolutionarily completely different from different species that scientists have found, they counsel it might include a cocktail of venoms drastically completely different in chemical make-up from something beforehand seen.

“This jellyfish is most actually venomous, because the tentacles had been coated in stinging cells. No work has but been accomplished on its venom, but when funding had been out there we might like to look into it. All venoms are potential medicines and since this species is so completely different from others, one may surmise that the venom may very well be novel,” Lindsay mentioned.

The St. George’s Cross Medusa is usually clear, except its attribute purple cross marking, which is assumed to make it more durable for predators to identify any bioluminescent meals the jellyfish has inside its stomach.

The jellyfish was first noticed in 2002 throughout a analysis mission to the Sumisu Caldera utilizing the remotely operated car (ROV) Hyperdolphin, which captured the specimen and allowed for DNA evaluation.

Nevertheless, the species was not seen once more till 2020, when it was filmed by the KM-ROV however evaded seize. It is uncommon for a brand new species to be confirmed after the gathering of solely a single specimen, as a number of of the animals are normally studied first. Nevertheless, due to the obvious rarity of S. pagesi, it was designated a brand new species after a single specimen was captured and one other noticed.

“Normally, at the least two specimens of a species are wanted to explain a brand new species, although exceptions are made. We had been capable of confirm from a second person that was sampled in 2020, that our holotype specimen was not a mutant and will safely be used to explain the species,” Lindsay mentioned.

new jellyfish capture
In 2002, a remotely operated submersible car captured the jellyfish. Just one specimen has been recovered.

Dhugal John Lindsay/Jamstec

The researchers hope that additional expeditions to the deep-sea volcano will yield extra sightings of the uncommon jellyfish.

“We might be endeavor extra surveys inside volcanic calderas in March and once more in April. Watch this area for extra discoveries,” Lindsay mentioned.

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Replace 2/7/2024 12:58 p.m. ET: This text was up to date with remark from Dhugal Lindsay.