A Caribbean box jellyfish makes an unusual trip

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caribbean-box-jellyfishQUEENSLAND, Australia, Wednesday December 3, 2014, CMC – The Caribbean box jellyfish, also known as the Tripedalia cystophora, that is native to Jamaica has been found for the first time in a canal on Australia’s Gold Coast .

The jellyfish, found earlier this year in Australia , has also been found in other parts of the world such as the Philippines, Ecuador, Japan, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Indonesia and Florida but Australia is now the southerly-most locality for this species.

The single female Caribbean box jellyfish was found on January 27 in a canal on the Gold Coast – about 17km from the ocean and approximately 1.5km from the nearest mangroves.

The find was only recently published online in the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.

The jellyfish was observed in a canal, where a member of the public, mistook it for floating plastic rubbish.

The Queensland Museum’s Dr Merrick Ekins said the jellyfish was much smaller than the Australian species and was not lethal, but does carry a sharp sting.

“We don’t know how it got here. I suspect it might’ve come in ship’s ballast water,” he said.

“It was just a matter of time before it turned up here but it, in a way it’s been surprising that it hasn’t been reported in northern Queensland before.”

Ekins said the species was extinct in Jamaica because of over development but it has colonised parts of Indonesia.

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