A new cube-shaped, 24-eyed box jellyfish was discovered in Hong Kong. The tiny cube-shaped, 24-eyed box jellyfish was discovered by scientists at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) in the Mai Po Nature Reserve.
Researchers named the newfound species Tripedalia maipoensis after Mai Po Nature Reserve. The jellyfish samples were collected from a brackish shrimp pond, locally called 'gei wai,' in the Mai Po Nature Reserve during the summers of 2020 to 2022, and they found that the samples contained a new species.
The research team led by Professor Qiu Jianwen, recently shared their findings on Youtube.
"We named the new species Tripedalia maipoensis to reflect its type locality-where the new species was first found. Although it is currently known only in Mai Po, we believe that this species is also distributed in the adjacent waters of the Pearl River Estuary as the gei wais are connected to the estuary through a tidal channel," Professor Qiu said in the video.
According to a release by the university, named for its cube-shaped body, the box jellyfish, (scientifically known as Cubozoa) belong to the phylum Cnidaria. Even though the class Cubozoa is one of the smaller groups among the cnidarians, it includes some of the highly venomous marine animals that are widely known in tropical waters.
The newly discovered Tripedalia maipoensis belongs to the family Tripedaliidae. It is the fourth-described species of Tripedaliidae and the third-described species of the genus Tripedalia around the world. It has a transparent and colourless body with an average length of 1.5 cm.
There are three tentacles that are up to 10 cm long at each of its four corners. Pedalia, a flat pedal-shaped structure at the base of each tentacle that looks like a boat paddle, allows box jellyfish to produce strong thrusts when they contract their bodies. They can therefore swim faster than other kinds of jellyfish.
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