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Giant new species of jellyfish hits beach

By Brad Lendon, CNN
February 7, 2014 -- Updated 1910 GMT (0310 HKT)
A 5-foot giant jellyfish recently washed up on a beach in Tasmania, an island off the southeast coast of Australia. Scientists are working to classify the new species. Click through the gallery to see more photos of jellyfish around the world. A 5-foot giant jellyfish recently washed up on a beach in Tasmania, an island off the southeast coast of Australia. Scientists are working to classify the new species. Click through the gallery to see more photos of jellyfish around the world.
HIDE CAPTION
A new species
West Coast sea nettle
Not their natural color
"Turn off the lights, and we'll glow."
"Am I getting hazard pay for this?"
Lion's mane
Papuan jellyfish
Pacific sea nettle
Summer invadors
Painful but pretty
Jellyfish and tourism
The Irukandji
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 5-foot-diameter jellyfish found on Tasmania
  • Scientist is trying to set name for the creature
  • New jellyfish is believed to be related to others in the area, scientist says
  • Jellyfish numbers swelling off Tasmania

(CNN) -- Call it "big snotty."

It is a giant 5-foot diameter new species of jellyfish that slimed a beach in Australia last month, much to the delight of Lisa-ann Gershwin, a scientist at Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.

"I'm just rapt by it, honestly. It's such an amazing find," Gershwin told the Sydney Morning Herald.

The creature was found on the southern Australian island of Tasmania by a family collecting shells, according to news reports.

"We were at the beach looking for shells and dad was like 'Whoa! Look at that'...I kind of touched it.. it was pretty cool," said Xavier Lim, 12, according to a report from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

See new species of 'snotty' jellyfish

Gershwin said the milky white creatures with pink in the middle have not been classified by science, but they've been spotted before. Recently, however, they've been turning up more in the waters off Tasmania.

"All of a sudden I started getting all these calls, and all these people sending me photographs. Sure enough this thing is an absolute menace this season; it's been around in large numbers," Gershwin told the Herald.

They are not deadly to humans though.

"If you touched it or whacked into when you were swimming it is very painful," Australian Broadcasting quoted her as saying. "It's not life-threatening, but it will sting you, it will wake you up."

Gershwin said she got hold of some other, smaller specimens of the creature before Christmas.

"I've been ... working with jellyfish for a long time here and I've seen a lot of big jellyfish but this one's really big," ABC quoted her as saying.

And they are prolific, she said.

"We don't actually know what's going on that's led, not only to this species, but many, many types of jellyfish blooming in massive numbers," she told the Herald. "Jellyfish do bloom as a normal part of their life cycle, but not usually this many."

She told the Herald she has been working to get a scientific name approved for the new jellyfish, which she believes is related to previously identified jellyfish in the area called lion's mane, and sometimes "snotties."

So, for this one, "big snotty." What do you think?

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