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Australian Spotted Jellyfish - Phyllorhiza punctata - A beautiful but annoying invader

Phyllorhiza punctata (Rhizostomae - Mastigiidae) is a large jellyfish with a rounded and somewhat flattened gelatinous bell that is clear or possibly tinted brown with many small white crystalline refractive spots close to the surface. 

P. punctata is a coastal and estuarine jellyfish whose wide native distribution includes Australia and much of the Indo-Pacific including the Philippine archipelago. 

This species was recorded only from Indo-Pacific waters prior to the 1950s.  Since 1995 there are several reports of populations of the Australian Spotted Jellyfish in the Atlantic (Brazil), Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and the East Pacific (California), where the species is considered introduced, invasive and nuisance, impacting fisheries, injuring swimmers, and clogging the intakes of power plants, among other effects. 

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Ray Froend | Locality: Swan River, Western Australia (2007)

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