A giant jellyfish, measuring five feet across, washed up on the shores of Tasmania. The creature is being called "Big Snotty."
The Lin family, out looking for seashells, were the first people to spot the odd creature. The family were walking along a beach in Howden last month, when they saw the odd corpse, lying on the shore. They were amazed at the sight of the giant creature when it first washed ashore on a beach in Tasmania, an island off Australia, last month. The discovery of the primitive animal has also stunned marine biologists.
"We were at the beach looking for shells and dad was like 'Whoa! Look at that'... I kind of touched it... it was pretty cool," Xavier Lim, a 12-year-old who was among the first to see Big Snotty, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
The animal was milky white, with a pink center. Although these creatures have been spotted before, they have never been classified by biologists. Visitors to the waters around Australia have reported seeing the odd jellyfish living around Tasmania.
"I'm just rapt by it, honestly. It's such an amazing find," Lisa-Ann Gershwin, a biologist who examined a photo of the find, told the Sydney Morning Herald. Gershwin has been studying smaller specimens of the same species since the end of 2013.
She said that five years ago, she began to realize there were three distinct species of jellyfish in the waters surround Tasmania. The newly-discovered species possesses muscles and organs that make it distinct from other varieties of the animals.
Although these giant jellyfish are not poisonous to humans, they do have a powerful sting that can cause a great deal of pain.
The new species is causing a great deal of excitement among scientists, who are working to examine the species, and properly classify the animal.
"There's the excitement, that it's a new species and then there's the 'Oh my God factor' that it happens to be the size of a Smart car," Gershwin told Reuters.
The marine biologist will soon submit a paper, detailing the three species of Tasmanian jellyfish. She is also studying why jellyfish populations are increasing so greatly around the area.
It is Gershwin who proposed the temporary name "big snotty." The biologist is also heading the drive to give the species a formal name, which Gershwin will not reveal. She believes the creatures are related to another species of jellyfish known to inhabit the area. They are formally known as lion's manes, but are sometimes called snotties by locals.