New species of “most beautiful” jellyfish found for first time in 114 years in Okinawa

New species of “most beautiful” jellyfish found for first time in 114 years in Okinawa

A mature Olindias deigo, photographed by Ryo Minemizu.

January 8, 2020 Ryukyu Shimpo

On January 7, the Kuroshio Biological Research Institute announced it discovered a new jellyfish species among the specimen they collected in Northern Okinawa and named it Olindias deigo (Japanese: Deigo-hanagasa-kurage).

It is the first time in 114 years a new species of the Olindias genus was discovered. The finding was published in the zoology journal, Zookeys, on December 31, 2019.

The Olindias deigo” belongs to the Olindias genus in the family Olindiidae, which is said to be the “most beautiful [jellyfish] in the world.”

The bell size of a mature Olindias deigo can reach 7-8 cm.

The Kuroshio Biological Research Institute has been collecting jellyfish specimens along the coasts of Nago City and Motobu from 2015 to 2018.

Based on morphology and DNA analysis, the Institute determined that ten of the collected specimens represent a new species.

Furthermore, the researchers observed the Olindias deigo for six months and reached an understanding of the bionomics, or life history, of the new jellyfish.

The Institute explained the Olindias deigo is named after the Okinawan deigo flower, which blooms in the spring and summer months when the jellyfish arrive.

Moreover, the deigo flower is loved by Okinawans as the prefectural flower, and the researchers hoped for the locals to feel a similar connection with the jellyfish.

(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)

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