Bright Red Cross Jellyfish Discovered in a Distant Deep-Sea Volcanic Structure
Researchers claim to have discovered a new species of Medusae, a free-swimming kind of umbrella-shaped jellyfish. The brilliant red “X” on the stomach of the marine monster was first observed in 2002 in a deep-sea volcanic structure in ocean seas south of Tokyo, Japan.
The results were released in the scientific journal Zootaxa this past November. Because of the remarkable X, the researchers called the aquatic mammal “Santjordia pagesi” after the Cross of St. George. The suffix “pagesi” was created in memory of the late taxonomist for jellyfish, Dr. Francesc Pagès.
“The species is very different from all the deep-sea medusae discovered to date,” scientist André Morandini said in a news release last week from the São Paulo Research Foundation. “It’s relatively small, whereas others in this kind of environment are much larger.”
Morandini explained that the peculiar red cross “probably has to do with capturing food.”
With 240 tentacles, S. Pagesi was discovered and captured more than 20 years ago off the Ogasawara Islands in Japan using a remotely operated vehicle, which was the sole means of doing study in the hostile waters. Scientists were unable to get a second specimen of the marine mammal bearing the X symbol that they saw in the same location in 2020.
Because this species of Medusae is so uncommon, Morandini explained, its name and description were based on the catch of just one, even though the identification of a new species often necessitates the collecting of multiple creatures.
“We opted to publish the description and call attention to the species that are present at the site, which has a substrate rich in minerals and the potential to be commercially developed,” the scientist said in the news release. “Unfortunately, research can’t be conducted in such places without partners who have interests of this kind.”