When the Rhizostoma luteum jellyfish was discovered at the beginning of the 19th century in the waters of the Strait of Gibraltar, only nine specimens were identified. For years, it was so inconspicuous that in the 20th century, it failed to turn up for six decades. A team of scientists with the help of a citizen initiative has now confirmed that it is not really as difficult to find as previously believed.
In 1827, the French naturalists Jean René Constant Quoy and Joseph Paul Gaimard, while aboard the Astrolabe on a trip around the world, discovered the Rhizostoma luteum (formerly called the Orythialutea) in the Strait of Gibraltar via the analysis of nine specimens. This was the first and last time it was seen.
During the following decades, this jellyfish went unnoticed, and there were no scientific records of it over the last 60 years. It was not until 2013 that a team of scientists, led by Laura Prieto of the Institute of Marine Sciences of Andalusia (CSIC), confirmed the presence of this species in Mediterranean waters by means of a phylogenetic analysis.
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