Australian Schoolboy Discovers New Box Jellyfish Species

Posted on July 25, 2015

Chiropsella Saxoni, a pygmy box jellyfish

A new species of box jellyfish was discovered in a Gold Coast canal by a 9-year-old Australian schoolboy. The tiny jellyfish is about 2.5 centimeters long (1 inch). The jellyfish has been named Chiropsella Saxoni after its discoverer Saxon Thomas. It is also known as the pygmy box jellyfish.

ABC News Australia reports that the boy spotted the jellyfish in the canal while playing with his friends. He took the jellyfish home to his father who contacted the Queensland Museum. It was then identified by scientists at the museum as a new species.

The scientists say they ecology of the pygmy box jellyfish appears to be similar to that of the deadly box jellyfish. Scientists do not think the little jellyfish could be lethal, but it might posses a painful sting.

Queensland Museum's Dr Lisa-Ann Gershwin told ABC News, "It's a really, really little guy, cute as can be. I don't think we have any reason to believe that it's lethal. We haven't done the testing to know for sure. It's so small, and the type of sting that it would be able to give would be very minor. I mean it probably hurts, but that's about it."

The jellyfish has been spotted elsewhere since it was first discovered. It has also been found in canals on Australia's Sunshine Coast. A story in the Gold Coast Bulletin has photos of the young student who discovered the jellyfish.

Photo: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom