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Updated 9:12 AM EST, Tue, Jan 05, 2021

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Scientists Identify New Species of Box Jellyfish; Named After Aussie Lad

Scientists Identify New Species of Box Jellyfish; Named After Aussie Lad

(Photo : Youtube) Scientists from Queensland, Australia have identified the new species of box jellyfish that was first discovered in a Gold Coast canal by a 9-year-old lad.

Scientists from Queensland, Australia have identified the new species of box jellyfish that was first discovered in a Gold Coast canal by a 9-year-old lad.

Measuring only around two-and-a-half centimeters long, the "pygmy box jellyfish" Chiropsella saxoni was named after Saxon Thomas - the Aussie boy who found the water creature while fishing with a friend in 2013, Global Post has learned.

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"We looked at it and we confirmed it was a new species so we named a new species after him," Merrick Ekins of Queensland Museum told AFP on Thursday, as per PHYS.ORG.

"We thought about it and we thought, 'Why don't we highlight the fact that a young, keen, observant lad saw it and recognised this as interesting and thought that he should contact the museum,'" he continued.

Thomas reportedly thought the animal was unusual so he removed it from the water using a net. With the help of his father, Saxon sent the jellyfish to the museum.

"It's a really, really little guy, cute as can be," Queensland Museum jellyfish expert Dr Lisa-Ann Gershwin said on Thursday.

Despite concerns associated with its deadly cousin, C. saxoni is reportedly not as lethal since the kind of sting that it could generate would most likely be very mild due to its relatively small size.

"I don't think we have any reason to believe that it's lethal. We haven't done the testing to know for sure. It's so small, and the type of sting that it would be able to give would be very minor," said Gershwin.

"I mean it probably hurts, but that's about it," she added.

"We don't think this one is deadly because no one has ever turned up dying from it, and it's rare," Ekins also said. "But that doesn't mean it won't give someone a very nasty shock."

Gershwin however, cautioned that the discovery of C. saxoni could mean that bigger and potentially deadly box jellyfish usually found in northern Australia waters are on the rise, as per China.org.cn.

"The ecology of this species appears to be similar to the deadly box jellyfish," she warned. "If the pygmy box jellyfish can survive and thrive at the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast in the canals, I think this really give us probably a good hint that so can the deadly one."

Nonetheless, Gershwin is thankful that Saxon was able to discover the new box jellyfish species, Abc.net.au reported.

"I'm really grateful to Saxon for having been so observant and so persistent about getting this species brought to scientific attention," she said."It's absolutely exciting to have a new species ... and it was found by a young boy who was super keen, super observant and super enthusiastic.

Normally found in waters about 1,400 km away, the lethal box jellyfish are usually sighted between the months of November and May.


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