Chirodectes maculatus: Wiki & 8 Interesting Facts On The Rarest Jellyfish

From the Goblin Shark to the Frilled Shark, from Gulper Eels to Anglerfish, we know the list endless of strange creatures that the ocean offers us.

Despite the tremendous advancement of science and technology, what we know about our oceans is similar to a water drop in the vast ocean itself.

From housing volcanoes to having a portal to the other world, the number of mysteries and myths that surround our oceans are uncountable.

From such deep hidden treasures, we wish to introduce our readers to the rarest jellyfish in the world, Chirodectes maculatus, and 8 interesting facts about the rarest jellyfish in the world. So without further ado, let’s get going with our article.

Chirodectes maculatus: Wiki

Chirodectes maculatus
Chirodectes maculatus | Credit: Guardian Australia (@Youtube)
Scientific Name Chirodectes maculatus
Common Name Box Jellyfish
Physical Characteristics The head resembles the shape of a soccer ball, with speckles that give the jellyfish its name, “maculatus”. The tentacles occur in bundles of four, each of different sizes.
Color The bell is transparent, bearing black ring like speckles, and the internal organs are red, which we can see through its translucent body.
 Size (avg) Bell size: 15 centimeters
Weight (avg) NA
Habitat Marine; within 15 meters of the sea surface
Diet Shrimp, small fish, krill, floating debris
Known Predator Unknown
Behavior Venomous
Lifespan 3-4 months (the age of Chirodectes maculates is unknown, but is correlated with other members of its genus)
Danger Level Not yet confirmed
Geographical Location Marine waters of Papua, New Guinea and Queensland

Chirodectes maculatus is a species of jellyfish that holds the record for being the rarest jellyfish in the world.

The number of sightings counts to only two, one in 1997 (with a captured specimen), while the other is video footage shared by the photographer of a jellyfish that looked quite like a soccer ball, in 2022.

Later, as the video went viral, researchers claimed that the animal could be Chirodectes maculatus, making it the second spotting to date. Below is the latest video:

8 Interesting Facts On The Rarest Jellyfish

1. Rarest Jellyfish:

Chirodectes maculates is the rarest jellyfish in the world. The first capture and study took place in 1997 but could last only for a few hours due to the jellyfish being extremely delicate.

The second spotting was by a scuba diver in the waters of Papua, New Guinea, in 2022, and from the recorded video, marine biologists could speculate that this jellyfish species could be the same as 1997 one.

With extremely less information and sightings, the Chirodectes maculates is undoubtedly the rarest jellyfish in the world.

2. Patterned Bell:

Like most of its counterparts, the Chirodectes maculates too and has a translucent bell. However, the bell is patterned, bearing multiple black rings, or speckles, that make this animal quite beautiful to look at.

The 1997 specimen, however, showed solid patches instead of rings. The epidermis of the bell displayed multiple large patterns, each measuring around 10 mm in diameter, along with multiple scattered, small patches.

The color may vary depending on the location and also the depth at which they live.

3. Four bundles of tentacles:

The Chirodectes maculates have tentacles, which are banded and arranged in bundles of four. However, all bundles are of different sizes and used to seize prey.

4. Colored Tentacles:

The tentacles of the rarest jellyfish in the world are colored and banded, bearing purple, black, and white bands.

5. Have stinging cells:

Like other jellyfish, Chirodectes maculates too have stinging cells, called nematocytes. These nematocytes sting and immobilize the prey, and the oral arms capture the food.

6. Different Sized-Tentacles:

In this species, the outermost tentacle on each of the compound pedalium (the muscle which bends and pushes the tentacle) is quite short and narrow in comparison to the other tentacles.

This was a trait found unique in this jellyfish as in other species like Chirodectes flickerti and Chirodectes quadrumanus they are relatively equal in length.

7. Visible gastro-vascular cavity:

Chirodectes maculatus (Box Jellyfish)
Chirodectes maculatus | Credit: Guardian Australia (@Youtube)

Since the bell is translucent, the gastrovascular cavity is visible as a bright red organ. The 2005 research paper submitted by Paul Cornelius gives very little description of the gastro-vascular cavity.

The presence of gastric cirri, measuring up to 5 mm, was also confirmed in the specimen. The primary reason is, the jellyfish was quite delicate and the study could only continue up to a few hours.

Moreover, the effects of formaldehyde as a preservative were also getting pronounced. However, in the video posted by a scuba diver recorded off the coast of Papua, the gastro-vascular cavity gave a bright red hue through the outer translucent bell.

8. Information on the Reproduction and Reproductive Organs in this species is still unknown.

Due to the lack of specimens for study, it is still unknown whether this species of jellyfish is a hermaphrodite or has separate males and females.

In the 1997 specimen, the gonads weren’t identified, and that led to the assumption that the particular specimen may be infertile. However, a concrete statement is yet to be made, based on the availability of future specimens.

Now, we come to the end of this article. Hope you all have enjoyed it and got to know something about Chirodectes maculatus, the rarest jellyfish in the world.

Like you all, we are too eager to know more about this intriguing species, so keep a close eye on this website for future articles on this rare creature. Until then, goodbye.


Research Paper by biodiversitylibrary

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