7 Feb 2014

Huge jellyfish found in Tasmania

5:20 am on 7 February 2014

Scientists are trying to classify a massive jellyfish that washed ashore in Tasmania.

The 1.5-metre white and pink monster was sighted by a family walking on a beach at Howden, south of Hobart, last month.

"It is new to science, it's not yet been classified," jellyfish expert Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin told AAP on Thursday. ''This guy's a whopper.''

Dr Gershwin said it was from the same group as the world's largest species, found in the Arctic, which grows to three metres across.

It is not known why the creature is growing to sizes larger than normal.

Theories range from warmer water to a different chemical composition in the ocean.

"We don't if it's something that has changed in the water, that this is the new normal, or if it's just a blip," Dr Gershwin said

The creature's sting is not lethal but is painful, Dr Gershwin said from personal experience.

"It feels like being stabbed by an ice-pick," she said. "It's worth staying away from."