Crambione Cookii Monster Rediscovered: Deadly Jellyfish Considered Extinct Found Near Australian Coast

The last sighting of the pink jellyfish was over 100 years ago

By Ajit Jha on November 23, 2013 1:51 PM EST

ABC Sunshine Coast on Facebook
ABC Sunshine Coast on Facebook

To the surprise of marine biologists and nature lovers, a jellyfish long considered extinct has been sighted for the first time in nearly 100 years. Despite its powerful and toxic sting, the incredibly rare Crambione Cookii will rely on the care and attention of the scientific community to keep it from going extinct.

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The last sighting of the Crambione cookii was way back in 1910. Spotted recently off the coast of Queensland, Australia, this deadly pink jellyfish was eventually captured. However, little if any thing is known about this mysterious species with a sting so powerful that it is felt in the water surrounding the creature.

Found by Puk Scivyer, an aquarist who works at UnderWater World aquarium in Mooloolaba off the Sunshine Coast, while she was releasing a rescued sea turtle.

"As soon as I saw it I realized it was a species I'd never seen before," Scivyer said. "But to then discover I was the first person to see this species in over a hundred years was just incredible."

Speaking to Sunshine Coast Daily, she said, "It was the size [that made it stand out]... but as we came past he was more of a cube shape and we could see he was not like the ones that we normally see. It's the biggest [jellyfish] I have seen in Australian waters."

It is extremely surprising to marine biologists that species hitherto considered extinct could manage to evade notice for over a century.

American scientist Alfred Gainsborough Mayor last saw the Crambione cookii off the coast of Cookstown, Queensland in 1910.

The only surviving record of the creature was until now the sketch Mayor made. This record helped jellyfish expert Dr. Lisa-Ann Gershwin identify the animal, who confirmed the existence of the deadly jellyfish considered extinct, after it was captured.

The animal is currently under observation at the UnderWater World aquarium in Queensland where it will be studied. Scientists do not know much about the mysterious creature, including its population size, habitat, and life expectancy. Experts continue to speculate whether any more of this species will be found.

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