Jellyfish might be a regular sight along the Indian coast but they are a rare sight in lakes. What started as a regular field trip for a team of marine biologists turned into a voyage of discovery when they found a unique specie of jellyfish called Upside-down Jellyfish in a small town called Armabada in Gujarat.
Usually found in warmer coastal regions, mangrove forests, shallow lagoons or mud flats, upside-down jellyfish are a genus of true jellyfish and the only members of the family Cassiopeidae. They are so named because they lie in this position on the sea bed, unlike others.
The team of marine biologists from Wildlife Trust of India spotted this jellyfish during a regular field visit. Out of curiosity they went to explore a water body which was attached to the Gulf of Kutch through a small water canal, while it was separated from it by a bridge.
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As the scientists snorkeled in the water, they were amazed to see the entire bottom of the lake was covered with these jellyfish. This is most likely the first that such a discovery has been made in India.
“This is probably the first jellyfish lake to have been found in India. The concentration and density of jellyfish is very high here. You can even see them from outside during low tide and when the water is clear,” wildlife scientist BC Choudhury said.
These jellyfish look to receive a large amount of sunlight as they harbour photosynthetic algae called Zooxanthellae. That is the reason behind their unusual position.
Experts believe that this specie has been spotted here mostly due to a smaller number of predators and less wave action in this lake. Also, this lake hosts jellyfish throughout the year unlike other water bodies where they are seasonal. Further investigation led to the discovery of a group of turtles who have also inhabited the same lake.
This incredible discovery in India gives a positive hope that there might be more such unusual habitats and brings this lake into the spotlight like the renowned jellyfish lake located on Eil Malk Island in Palau.