STRANGE FIND: Maralyn Hanigan, from Ballina, sent in this photo of a purple jellyfish she found at the northern end of Shelly Beach a few weeks ago.
STRANGE FIND: Maralyn Hanigan, from Ballina, sent in this photo of a purple jellyfish she found at the northern end of Shelly Beach a few weeks ago.

Rare purple jellyfish washes up on Ballina beach

A PURPLE jellyfish believed to be a newly discovered species has been found at Shelly Beach.

Maralyn Hanigan, from Ballina, sent in this photo of a purple jellyfish she found at the northern end of Shelly Beach a few weeks ago.

She thought it was a lavender garbage bag caught in the sand.

The jellyfish closely resembles a bright purple one-metre long jellyfish found on Coolum Beach on May 21, with an international jellyfish expert telling the ABC it could take some time to identify the new species, believed to belong to the genus thysanostoma group, which is uncommon in Australian waters.

"It is either a species from the Red Sea or a species from Malaysia or the Philippines or it is new to science," CSIRO expert, Lisa-Ann Gershwin said.

SCU marine science lecturer, Dr Daniel Bucher said it was likely the two purple jellyfish had been caught up in the Eastern Australian Current.

"The jellyfish can swim in a directional sense, but they are not strong enough to swim against a strong current," he said.

Dr Bucher said the purple colour of the jellyfish was not unusual for a surface dwelling sea creature.


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