Article: Four-armed jellyfish found


Robert Karl Sto

Four-armed jellyfish found Bumpy sea creature is new species. 9 February 2004 HELEN R. PILCHER

Researchers have discovered a new species of jellyfish so different from its fellow creatures that
it merits a new subfamily. The diaphanous beast, which dwells in deep waters off California, has a
bell-shaped body and four fleshy arms.

The creature was first nicknamed 'Bumpy' by the researchers who found it, because it is covered in
tiny bumps. But it now has an official moniker: Stellamedusa ventana.

'Stella' refers both to its translucent blue-white colour and its trailing arms, which make it look
like a shooting star, while 'medusa' is a commonly used name for jellyfish. It is named 'ventana'
after the robotic submarine that first caught Bumpy on video, explains its discoverer, Kevin Raskoff
of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California.

The creature is unusual because it has arms instead of tentacles, says Raskoff. The arms protrude
from inside the bell of the jellyfish and act like a pair of extended lips, helping guide food to
the mouth. The bumps are clusters of stinging cells that help it capture prey.

The jellyfish's anatomy and behaviour are different enough to make it qualify as a new subfamily.
"This is a pretty big deal," says Raskoff. For comparison, lions and domestic cats belong to the
same family, but different subfamilies. This is a jellyfish equivalent, he says. The subfamily has
been named Stellamedusinae, and brings the total number of jellyfish subfamilies to eight.

Read the rest at Nature

Posted by Robert Karl Stonjek.