Who’d have guessed it’d turn up again?
Scuba Ventures recently captured film near Kavieng, Papua New Guinea, showing one of the world’s rarest animal sightings: a Chirodectes maculatus, a genus of box jellyfish that has only been seen once before.
Scuba Ventures’ Facebook page posted the breathtaking footage with the caption:
“While diving today, I discovered a new variety of jellyfish. It has amazing patterns and is about the size of a soccer ball, and they swim really quickly.”
Only once before, on 2 May 1997, the exceedingly uncommon species was spotted on the outside border of the Great Barrier Reef, around 43 kilometers (27 miles) off the coast of northeast Queensland. It was discovered just 5 meters (16 feet) of the surface, and the scientists who initially identified it suspected that Cyclone Justin had moved it to the location.
That specimen, by the way, was roughly half the size of this one, with a bell that measured around 150 mm (5.9 inches) in height. Also, as one commentator pointed out, the markings on this specimen from Papua-New Guinea are rings, but the markings on the specimen published from Australia are full out spots of orange-brown hue.
Chirodectes has never stung a person since it “failed either to sting, or cling to, the hand and forearm of an incautious volunteer” during a 1997 examination. Despite this, Chirodectes is thought to be poisonous due to its huge size and the exceptionally deadly characteristics of some chirodropids.
So, a poisonous beauty.