‘Alien of the deep’ startles beachgoers
IT was an unusual colour. It was an eerie quivering mass.
Adam Dickinson told his children to steer clear of the massive blob they stumbled across while visiting a New Zealand beach earlier this week. But the family soon surrounded the creature, which appeared to be moving.
It was unlike anything Dickinson had ever seen before.
"My initial thought was don't let my kids touch it as they went running up to have a look," Dickinson, who lives in Stanmore Bay, recalled to Fox News.
The large creature washed up on Pakiri Beach, roughly 90km north of Auckland.
Dickinson's children compared the pink creature to a "volcano."
"It was pretty incredible and really hard to describe," Dickinson told Yahoo7. "It almost looked like a load of muscles contracting."
It was clear the creature, which Dickinson later discovered was a lion's mane jellyfish - the largest species of jellyfish in the world - wasn't dead.
"It's alive," Dickinson's son confirmed.
The family stared at the jellyfish, and sure enough, it continued to move.
"It was pretty amazing to see. Also, the other jellyfish we found on the beach, we turned them upside down to see if it would look similar to this one and none of them did," Dickinson told the news station. "This one was definitely different. We have never seen anything like it. It was pretty cool."
A lion's mane jellyfish, also known as the "giant jellyfish," can grow as large as a blue whale. Its tentacles can reach 190 feet long (57 metres) and it can have a bell diameter of up to 7 feet (1.8 metres), according to Oceana, an international conservation organisation.
The majority of lion's mane jellyfish live in the Arctic and Pacific Ocean, where waters tend to be cooler.
"Its 'mane' of long, hairlike tentacles hanging from the underside of its bell-shaped body is the inspiration behind the lion mane's common name," Oceana explains in a blog post. "The mouth is situated on the belly's underside, surrounded by tentacles that are divided into eight clusters of up to 150 tentacles each."
This type of jellyfish typically feeds on plankton, small fish and other tiny organisms. The lion's mane jellyfish packs a powerful sting, typically using its toxic tentacles to paralyse its prey.