Brazilian researchers discovered a new type of jellyfish at a depth of 812 meters in a remote location in Japan. The animal, called Santjordiapagesi, has only been spotted twice in a deep underwater volcanic structure called Sumisu Caldera in the Ogasawara Islands, about 460 km south of Tokyo. The researchers have now described their discovery in the scientific journal Zotaxa.
The bright red color reminds researchers of the Cross of Saint George
SaintGeorgia bagii is about 10 cm in diameter and has a bright red stomach reminiscent of the cross of Saint George. “This species is completely different from all deep-sea medusa species discovered so far,” said study leader Andre Morandini, a professor of zoology at the University of São Paulo. “They are relatively small, while others in this type of environment are much larger. The bright red color of their stomach likely has something to do with obtaining food. At the same time, the red color helps hide bioluminescent organisms from predators after consuming them. These Luminous organisms are relatively widespread in the deep sea.
Very Rare Species of Medusa Jellyfish Spotted Near Japan: In the vast and mysterious depths of the ocean, scientists have uncovered a fascinating new species of medusa jellyfish, known as Santjordiapagesi, or the cross of St. George Medusa. https://t.co/igLOmPLiyQ
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Researchers believe that this species may possess unique toxins that were not known before. “Who knows? Perhaps it contains secrets more valuable than any mineral that can be mined in this place. And all with the advantage of the species and the place remaining intact.”
Two decades in secret
The jellyfish specimen now described was captured by the Hyperdolphin remotely operated vehicle (ROV) in 2002 while diving in the Sumisu Caldera, which is only accessible by scientific expeditions using this special equipment. It would take nearly two decades before another specimen of the same species would be discovered. The jellyfish species is named after D. Francesc Bages, a jellyfish expert from Barcelona who recently passed away.
The researchers hope that the discovery of jellyfish species will contribute to a better understanding of marine biodiversity and the protection of unique deep-sea habitats. “We chose to publish the description and draw attention to the species found at this site, which have a mineral-rich substrate and have the potential to develop commercially,” Morandini comments. “Unfortunately, you cannot conduct research in places like this without partners with such interests.”
Photo credit: Dougal John Lindsay/JAMSTEC
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