Rare pink meanie rears its jelly head again

Posted by Gabrielle Jacobs on 30 July 2019

A rare jellyfish affectionately dubbed the ‘pink meanie’ has struck again. The Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town recently reported its surprise finding of the rare and relatively unknown jellyfish species.

Discovered much like the first one – by accident – this one shocked the aquarium’s collections team, who’d only a month before gone out to collect night-light jellyfish near Robben Island and in the city harbour after jellies kept washing up on Cape shores. The stealthy, and still small, pink meanie must’ve been part of this collection, as it engulfed all of its tank mates over the weekend and was the only jelly left by the time Monday rolled by again, alerting the aquarium staff to its presence two years after the first discovery in 2017.

As yet, the jellyfish has only been spotted in South African waters, and up the southwest coast in particular. Relatively little is known about the species, which is vaguely known by the Drymonema species name for true jellyfish. This species is considered to be at the top of the jelly food chain and tends to appear when jelly population blooms are rampant.

The pink meanie is jellyvivorous too, which means that it feeds on other jellyfish. This meanie differs from some of its Drymonema counterparts elsewhere in the world, like the ones found in the Gulf of Mexico, Drymonema larsoni. The Mexican meanie is known to have devoured tens of its kind already, however – 34 jellies were found inside it one greedy meanie. The meanies use their stinging ‘oral arms’ (a distinct feature of the Drymonema) to ensnare and engulf other jellies.

According to the Two Oceans’ jelly expert, Krish Lewis, the elusive pink meanie is the ‘unicorn of jellyfish’.

You can find the pink meanie on display at the Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Town, in the Jelly Gallery near the I&J Ocean Exhibit.

Images supplied by Devon Bowen/Two Oceans Aquarium

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