Scientist Discover New ‘Giant’ Jellyfish Species in Florida

After putting on their equipment, scuba divers made their way down to the murky waters off the coast of Florida. With their flashlights in hand, the divers probed the depths and saw a large, clearly tentacled marine animal.

It was a previously unknown species.

Researchers in Florida have discovered a new and more significant species of tiny jellyfish with tentacles longer than two inches. This is an exciting finding for scientists studying the jellyfish kingdom.

Richard Collins and Peter Schuchert embarked on a quest to discover a marine monster with remarkable tentacles. They spent several nights submerging themselves in the Gulf Stream off Palm Beach; over many years, they made 91 dives.

During their dives, the two were searching for a type of marine animal known as hydromedusa, or more commonly, jellyfish.

These microscopic organisms live in the ocean’s depths and are only visible at night, making them difficult to see during the day.

During their dives, Schuchert and Collins meticulously photographed a range of jellyfish species and selected specific specimens for DNA extraction.

The “huge” Zancleopsis jellyfish, or Zancleopsis grandis, was discovered via the use of 16S barcode sequencing, which was previously unknown.

The paper that was released states that the new species is really huge, with a body somewhat taller than an inch and tentacles longer than two inches.

When the creature is moving, its body form also changes, yet it stays long and narrow at rest.

The Zancleopsis grandis has two long central tentacles that are ornamented with large, unusual bulbs.

The capacity of jellyfish to breathe via a narrow aperture and then expel fluids is what creates their swimming propulsion.

Researchers identified 49 species of hydromedusae in their investigation; 18 of them were not previously described in their 2021 publication.

Melicertum tropicalis, a new species of jellyfish, was also reported by Schuchert and Collins.