Scuba Divers Spot Incredibly Rare and Beautiful Jellyfish Only Once Before Seen

Who thought it would ever be sighted again?

Chirodectes maculatus. It was only seen and described once before the new footage surfaced. Image credit: Scuba Ventures Kavieng

New footage by Scuba Ventures in Kavieng, Papua New Guinea, shows one of the rarest animal sightings in the world involving a Chirodectes maculatus, an incredibly rare genus of box jellyfish which had only been sighted once before.

The stunning video was published on Scuba Ventures’ Facebook page with the caption:

“Saw a new type of Jellyfish while diving today. It has cool markings and is a bit bigger than a soccer ball and they are quite fast swimming.”

Credit: Scuba Ventures Kavieng

Previously, the extremely rare animal was sighted only once, on the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef, about 43 km (27 mi) off the coast of northeast Queensland, on 2 May 1997. It was found within 5 meters (16 ft) of the surface, and the biologists who first described it speculated that it may have been relocated to the area by Cyclone Justin.

Interestingly, that specimen was about half the size of this one, its bell measuring approximately 150 mm or 5.9 inches in height. Also, as one commenter noted, this specimen from Papua-New Guinea has rings as markings, while the markings in the specimen from Australia published are filled out dots of orange-brown color.

There are no recorded cases of a human sting from Chirodectes as it “failed either to sting, or adhere to, the hand and forearm of an incautious volunteer” during the examination in 1997. Nevertheless, because of its relatively large size and the extremely venomous nature of some chirodropids, it is assumed that Chirodectes is itself venomous.

A venomous beauty, then.

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