A New Species Of Box Jellyfish Discovered From Sri Lanka


Researchers at the Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka have discovered few novel species of jellyfish, one of which has been named as Carybdeawayamba ’in honour of the Wayamba University ofSri Lanka. Carybdeawayamba is the world’s first jellyfish species introduced by Sri Lankans. In addition, this is the animal species that was first described at the Wayamba University of Sri Lanka it is being a young institution.

This study was conducted as a part of a PhD study of Mr Krishan D. Karunarathne under the supervision of Dr M.D.S.T. de Croos using the financial assistance from the National Science Foundation (NSF) of Sri Lanka. Speaking to Earthlanka Mr.Krishan stated that Jellyfish are one of the least studied gorgeous aquatic creatures in Sri Lanka. There was an urgent need to study about the taxonomy and population status of jellyfish of Sri Lanka before utilising them in sustainable manner.

This finding is a result of the first-ever systematic jellyfish survey carried out in Sri Lankan waters. Sri Lankan species is the first Carybdeaspecies which was described in the entire North Indian Ocean as well. In addition to the new species, this study has also resulted in twenty-five firstly recorded jellyfish species from Sri Lankan waters. This new species is a mild stinger, and has a transparent, flimsy, small (about 2 centimetres) body with four long tentacles. Currently the species can be seen in coastal waters of southern and eastern Sri Lanka, especially around coral reefs, and river and lagoon mouths.

Some taxonomic results of the study have already been published in various journals and the rest will be published soon. A comprehensive checklist of about 100 species of jellyfish recorded in Sri Lankan waters will be published in the forthcoming National Red List of Sri Lanka.

Populations of marine jellyfish species are known to be increasing worldwide, due to several reasons such as, global warming, eutrophication, over exploitation of fish species that predate on jellies, etc. Therefore, most of the jellyfish species are not threaten so far. However, some edible species are vulnerable to be over-exploited when the fishery is not managed properly.

Lead researcher Mr. Krishan urged the public to protect habitats and do not over collect jellyfish from wild. Moreover, biological and ecological studies on jellyfish should be carried out.