Jellyfish filmed by scuba diver off Papua New Guinea could be rare or new species

Jellyfish filmed by scuba diver off Papua New Guinea could be rare or new species

When scuba diver Dorian Borcherds turned on his video camera, he became transfixed by the giant translucent mass bobbing along beside him.

What he had captured on film in the watery depths off Papua New Guinea now has marine biologists excited.

The jellyfish was believed to be one officially sighted only once before off the coast of Far North Queensland — a quarter of a century ago — but it could also be a new species, a researcher believes.

The owner of a Kavieng-based scuba dive company, Mr Borcherds was diving with a customer in December when he spotted the strange creature and described it on social media.

“Saw a new type of jellyfish while diving today. It has cool markings and is a bit bigger than a soccer ball and they are quite fast swimming,” he wrote at the time.

Still stumped, Mr Borcherds enlisted his daughter in South Africa for help.

“I thought it was interesting as I had never seen one of these before, so I felt [the video] to my daughter who downloaded a jellyfish app,” he said.

“It couldn’t be identified, so she uploaded the footage to the app and within half an hour she had a very excited jellyfish expert on the phone from Tasmania.”

That expert was Lisa-ann Gershwin from the Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Service, who at first thought it was the same jellyfish caught on the Great Barrier Reef in May 1997.

Screenshots from a video shot in 1997 of the original specimen that was found on the Great Barrier Reef.(Supplied: Queensland Museum)

“I was completely gobsmacked when they sent me through the photos,” Dr Gershwin said.

“I thought, oh my God, what is this thing and where is it?

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