When researchers discovered a fascinating large ocean creature in the early 21st century, they had no other choice than to name it after its peculiar appearance. This remarkable jellyfish has features that baffled even the most experienced scientists who first laid eyes upon it. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most interesting facts about the Big Red Jellyfish, one of the countless mysteries of the deep ocean.
They have a special feature not found in other jellyfish
One of the most distinctive features of most jellyfish is the tentacles that trail their umbrella-shaped bodies. These are also feared features because they are equipped with stinging cells. One of the deadliest creatures in the ocean is an extremely small type of jellyfish called the Irukandji jellyfish. Remarkable, the big red jellyfish doesn’t have these tentacles and instead has 4 to 7 thick fleshy oral arms instead.
The original name of this new species wasn’t very flattering
An ROV is really an amazing piece of equipment. Not only allows it scientists to remotely explore the deep parts of the ocean, but it also has great maneuverability. This allowed the baffled scientists to really take a good look at this peculiar gelatinous creature floating around at extreme depths. Because of this, it was also clear that this isn’t the best-looking creature in the ocean. This is the reason why it was initially referred to as “Big Ugly.”
They probably suffer from a specific deep-sea condition
It’s estimated that jellyfish have been around for at least 500 million years. Some scientists even suggest they have been living in the world’s oceans for up to 700 million years. Just like the giant isopod, it has therefore been suggested that they have developed a particular deep-sea condition called “deep-sea gigantism.”As the name of the condition suggests, creatures suffering from it grow much bigger than their counterparts living in shallower waters.
The discovery also created a completely new subfamily
The genus Tiburonia was placed inside a family of jellyfish known as the Ulmaridae. This consists of 13 different types of genera of jellyfish. Because the big red jellyfish didn’t fit into one of these genera, an entirely new subfamily was established called the Tiburoniinae. This subfamily was established shortly after it was first discovered in the year 2003 and the Tiburonia granrojo remains the only species in it.
How big is the Tiburonia granrojo?
Jellyfish come in all shapes and sizes but they usually don’t exceed half a meter (1.64 feet) in diameter. This particular jellyfish is extremely unusual because they have been recorded with a diameter of up to 76 centimeters (30 inches). We can only imagine how excited the team at MBARI must have been when they saw the first footage of this fascinating animal in the deep sea.
Where does this type of jellyfish live?
One of the most remarkable facts about the big red jellyfish is that only about two dozen of these animals have been found. Equally fascinating is that they have been found in multiple major oceans all around the world. This includes Monterey Bay (where they were discovered) and the Gulf of California in the Pacific Ocean, and the areas around Hawaii and Japan.
It’s the only member of a genus of jellyfish
Tiburonia is a type of jellyfish that is commonly referred to as the “Big Red Jellyfish.” The species are known as the “Tiburonia granrojo.” This creature has only been discovered in 2003. As of today, it’s still a unique ocean animal because it’s the only member of the genus Tiburonia.