MYSTERY: The purple jellyfish that washed up has since died.
MYSTERY: The purple jellyfish that washed up has since died. CONTRIBUTED

Purple jellyfish may be new species, says aquarist

A PURPLE jellyfish that washed ashore at Coolum Beach last week could be a new species.

UnderwaterWorld Sea Life aquarist Puk Scivyer said a woman had reported seeing a similar jellyfish in the water at Marcus Beach last week.

She said another purple jellyfish had been reported at Ballina in 2008.

Experts were scrambling to identify the jellyfish after it washed ashore on the southern end of Coolum Beach.

Mrs Scivyer said the jellyfish seemed similar to thysanostoma loriferum, a Red Sea species, or possibly a variety called pacifica from Malaysia.

She said marine species were sometimes transported from their normal territory in the bilge waters of ships but it was unlikely in this case.

"Personally, I lean towards it being a new species because it's so unlikely for so many to be so far from home," she said.

The jellyfish, which was barely alive when found, has since died and will be sent to Queensland Museum for further identification.

Mrs Scivyer urged anyone who found a similar purple jellyfish not to touch it but to contact Sea Life on 5458 6280.

"We don't know if he's very stingy," Mrs Scivyer said. "Some of them are not and some are lethal."


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