New Species Discovered? Purple Jellyfish Washes Up at Coolum Beach

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By Silvana Peters | May 22, 2014 4:01 PM EST

Scientists say a jellyfish, colored bright purple, was discovered Wednesday in Australia's Coolum Beach on Wednesday may be a brand new species.

The Brisbane Times reports that local fishermen spotted the sea creature and brought it to the attention of two lifeguards, Jamie Smith and Michael Daly, who were on duty.

Since the find, marine experts have had the jellyfish in their possession and are now trying to find out more about the mysterious sea creature.

Lisa Gershwin of the CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research Centre revealed it is possible that the jellyfish with metre-long tentacles maybe a new species but belonging to the Thysanostoma group.

A Thysanostoma is not common in the area, and to see one in such a colour and large size is unheard of. Other jellyfish of the same family are usually in a natural beige-brown hue and "the size of a women's fist," describes the marine biologist.

Gershwin admits that this is the first time she's ever seen or encountered anything like it.

"It's straight out of science fiction," quotes the Guardian of Gershwin who will begin analysing the jellyfish on Wednesday, along with a jellyfish expert from Sea Life Mooloolaba. "It's an electric, vibrant, 'wow' purple."

"It could be something new to science. The reason my antenna go up is it's such a different colour from what we normally see, so it could also be different in other ways," said Gershwin to Courier Mail.

Not much is known about the jellyfish with Gershwin commending the lifeguards for immediately removing the unidentified creature to prevent contact.

"It's still alive. We put gloves on and picked it up by head and put it in a bucket and we hope someone from Underwater World will be able to identify it," quotes Courier Mail of lifeguard Michael Daly.

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