An alien-like species of jellyfish first discovered eight years ago has finally been acknowledged as a species new to science. Named "medeopolis", a Latin word meaning "city of gonads", the bizarre creature is the only jellyfish in the world which displays its gonads externally, reports National Geographic.
According to zoologist Lisa-Ann Gershwin, who discovered and named the City of Gonads jellyfish, the animal's reproductive organs look like "skyscrapers in a downtown business district" upon close inspection. "It's just so completely different from anything we've ever seen before," she said.
So different, in fact, that it is more than just a new species: the jellyfish represents a whole new family and genus too. Furthermore, it measures just 1.5 to 2 millimeters (0.06 to 0.08 inch) across, making it smaller than at least 99.5 percent of all known species of jellyfish. "Not the smallest ever known, but it would be pretty close," noted Gershwin.
The new jellyfish was first discovered in the estuarine waters of the Derwent River as it runs through the city of Hobart in Tasmania, and it is among the vast majority of jellyfish species that are harmless to humans.
As for why the tiny animal is such an exhibitionist, scientists are left baffled. "I've thought about this for so long — I have no idea," Gershwin said. "There may be some functional reason, but I can't see what it is."