Tripedalia maipoensis

Scientists from Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) have made an exciting discovery in Mai Po Nature Reserve, located in northern Hong Kong. They recently found a new species of box jellyfish, which is the first of its kind to be discovered in Chinese waters. The research team, led by Professor Qiu Jianwen from the Department of Biology at HKBU, collected jellyfish samples from a brackish shrimp pond in Mai Po Nature Reserve between 2020 and summer 2022. Their findings were published in the international academic journal Zoological Studies in March.

The New Species: Tripedalia Maipoensis

The new species of box jellyfish discovered by the team has been named Tripedalia maipoensis, or Mai Po Tripedalia. The name reflects the location where the species was first found. It belongs to the family Tripedaliidae of the class Cubozoa and is the fourth species of Tripedaliidae known worldwide.

Unique Feature of Box Jellyfish

Box jellyfish are a small group, with only 49 species reported worldwide. The newly discovered Tripedalia maipoensis, like most other species of box jellyfish, has a transparent, colorless body and three tentacles at each of its four corners. Box jellyfish can swim faster than other jellyfish due to the flat pedal-shaped structure at the base of each tentacle that looks like a boat paddle. This allows them to produce strong thrusts when contracting their bodies.

Significance of the Discovery

The discovery of Tripedalia maipoensis highlights the rich diversity of marine life in Hong Kong and China. It is believed that the new species is also found in the adjacent waters of the Pearl River Estuary as the brackish shrimp ponds are connected to the estuary through a tidal channel. The discovery provides important insights into the poorly known box jellyfish in Chinese marine waters.



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