New lion’s mane jellyfish species discovered in New Zealand

Lion's mane jellyfish

From the Dominion Post in New Zealand:

Unique jellyfish just a pussycat


Saturday, 14 April 2007

A jellyfish that invades Wellington Harbour every summer is believed to be a new species.

Visiting Australian expert Lisa Gershwin has discovered that the lion’s mane jellyfish in New Zealand waters has unique features, making it different from lion’s manes found throughout the world.

Though the New Zealand species can deliver a nasty sting and rash, Dr Gershwin described it as a pussycat.

Hundreds and thousands of the jellyfish bloom in Wellington Harbour from November to March, and Dr Gershwin said pimple-like bumps on its top and an unusual muscle structure on the football-sized creature were an indication of its uniqueness.

“As one who gets excited about jellyfish, this certainly ranks up there,” she said.

She suspects other new species are lurking in waters around the country.

Though the lion’s mane may be a pussycat, a tiny box jellyfish found in Wellington Harbour can pack a nasty surprise.

“It has been noticed that people who get stung by this jellyfish show herpes-like blisters that will periodically come back for the next few years,” she said.

The box jellyfish, found in waters off Queensland and the Northern Territories, can deliver venom than can kill a human in 120 seconds.

Tiny stinging cells in the tentacles fire microscopic barbs at such force that it punctures human skin and delivers the venom.

She said each box jellyfish typically had about 60 tentacles totalling 180 metres in length.

Contact with 1.5 metres of tentacle is enough to kill an adult.

Brainless box jellyfish use two dozen eyes to figure out which way is up: here.

11 thoughts on “New lion’s mane jellyfish species discovered in New Zealand

  1. i was just wondering, are you sure that the lions mane jellyfish is a pussycat? anywhere that i have read, it has said that this jellyfish is deadly. i am not trying to be a know it all but i am just telling you what i have read


  2. ok i was just saying i wasn’t real sure if you people were crazy or what. i am not really trying to sound rude soo please don’t be offended. i just cam across this webpage while i was researching this specimen of jellyfish and was thinking ‘are you crazy?’ but apparently you aren’t. i just want to know if yall could answer some questions about the lion’s mane jellyfish. i have a project that i am doing and was wondering if you maybe could answer some questions?


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