HONG KONG – A Hong Kong university team said it has discovered a new species of box jellyfish in the city’s Mai Po Nature Reserve, the first discovery of the venomous species in China’s waters.
Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) together with WWF-Hong Kong, Ocean Park Hong Kong, and University of Manchester said on Tuesday, April 18, that the team collected jellyfish samples from a brackish shrimp pond over 2020-2022 and found they contained a new species.
Named Tripedalia maipoensis in reflection of its locality, it has a cube-shaped, colorless body with 24 eyes. It has three tentacles up to 10 cm (3.94 inches) long which resemble boat paddles, allowing it to produce strong thrusts, making the species swim faster than other kinds of jellyfish, the study said.
Qiu Jianwen, a professor at the Department of Biology at HKBU, said although the species is currently only known in Mai Po, the team believes the species is also distributed in the adjacent waters of the Pearl River Estuary.
#HKBU has discovered a new box #jellyfish species in Hong Kong waters. It named "Tripedalia maipoensis" belongs to the Tripedaliidae family of the class Cubozoa. The discovery increases the number of known species in the Tripedaliidae family from 3 to 4. https://t.co/XyXvCmfiPU pic.twitter.com/nfHEEoKUmZ— Hong Kong Baptist University (@hkbaptistu) April 18, 2023
Box jellyfish “are poorly known in Chinese marine waters. Our discovery of Tripedalia maipoensis in Mai Po – a relatively well-studied area in Hong Kong – highlights the rich diversity of marine life in Hong Kong and even the whole of China,” he said.
Box jellyfish, scientifically known as class Cubozoa, includes some of the highly venomous marine animals that are widely known in tropical waters, the study said. – Rappler.com
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