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box jellyfish
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The bands of color on the tentacles helped give the jellyfish, a strong swimmer, its common name. Credit: Marijke Wilhelmus/NOAA
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June 5, 2012

Ohboya! Box Jellyfish Named Top 10 New Species in 2012

NEFSC’s National Systematics Laboratory Helps Bring Attention to Biodiversity Science

The Bonaire banded box jellyfish, a beautiful but venomous box jelly officially described in 2011 by Allen Collins of NEFSC's National Systematics Laboratory in Washington, D.C, and colleagues, has achieved another international distinction. Tamoya ohboya, the official name for the box jellyfish described by Collins and his co-authors through an online species-naming contest, has been named one of the top ten new species for 2012.

The list was announced May 23 by The International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) at Arizona State University.  The Top 10 New Species for 2012, which includes a variety of species described in 2011, also includes a blue tarantula, night-blooming orchid, and sneezing monkey.

“I am really gratified because the entire point of having this species be named by the public (an idea my wife came up with) and carried out through the Coalition for the Public Understanding of Science, was to bring some attention to biodiversity science, how we name and describe life on the planet,” Collins said of the honor. “Putting on the species-naming contest was a blast, but all this extra attention is great. The paper is open access and part of it contains what we hoped would be a clear description of all the tasks and efforts that go into naming a new species.”

Collins, a specialist in Cnidaria (pronounced nid-AIR- ee-ah) which includes jellyfish, corals and anemones, says it would be “awesome” even if some tiny percentage of those who view this article and related media stories go find the paper, which appeared in the journal Zootaxa.

“People are clearly enthused by discovery, and our hope is that the discovery and documentation of biodiversity, and its importance, becomes better known.”  

Congratulations, or as NSL Lab director Mike Vecchione put it, Oh Boy!

To learn more about the research conducted at the National Systematics Laboratory and the lab’s involvement in the project over the years, click here or visit the Related Links, to the right.

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