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JMBA2 - Biodiversity Records

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Carybdea marsupialis (Cnidaria: Cubomedusae)—observed for the first time in Gwadar Bay waters (Arabian Sea)
Q.B. Kazmi*‡ and R. Sultana†
*Marine Reference Collection and Resource Centre,University of Karachi. †Food and Marine Resources Research Center, PCSIR Laboratories Complex, Karachi-75280, Pakistan. ‡Corresponding author, e-mail:

During a recent survey along the Balochistan coast of Pakistan, which extends from 25°11'N 61°41'E in the west, to 24°53'N 66°41'E in the east, many specimens of Carybdea marsupialis have been collected from the sandy beach near Gwadar Fish Harbour. All the specimens were dead except one, possibly stranded on the beach or thrown by fishermen. The species has recently been recorded for the first time also from the Oman Sea.This is the third addition to the cubozoans from Pakistani waters; previously, Chiropsalmus buitendijki and Carybdea alata, have been recorded.

Cubozoans are usually termed box jellyfish owing to their square-shaped bells. They are gelatinous organisms composed of the two body layers, armed with four tentacles that dangle from the corners of the bell. These tentacles are known to inflict painful stings on humans because of toxic effects of the venom contained in the nematocysts. Box jellies are found in most of the shallow tropical and subtropical seas throughout the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans. They generally occur in shallow waters of protected bays and estuaries and over sandy bottom shore lines, though some species have been reported from the open ocean. Cubomedusae are known as the fastest swimmers among the jellies and their relatives; they are also positively phototactic and have a sophisticated visual system. These jellyfish feed on swarms of mysids and fish hatchlings (Martin, 2004). Box jellies do not have any commercial significance. Previously only two species of cubomedusids have been reported from Pakistan; Chiropsalmus buitendijki Horst, 1907 was recorded by Tahera & Kazmi (2005, 2006), whereas Carybdea alata Reynoud, 1830 was reported by Stiansy (1937) from the Arabian Sea and from the Indian Ocean (see Kazmi, 1999). Carybdea marsupialis has recently been reported from Chahbahar Bay waters (Oman Sea) for the first time in early 2006 (IFRO Newsletter 2006 No, 47–48). The aim of this work is to describe the specimens of C. marsupialis recorded for the first time in Gwadar Bay.

The present Pakistani material of Carybdea marsupialis was collected by the authors from a sandy beach at Gwadar Bay (Balochistan Coast).

Figure 1. Specimen of Carybdea marsupialis from Gwadar Bay.

Phylum: CNIDARIA Hatschek, 1888 Class: CUBOZOA Werner, 1975 Order: CUBOMEDUSAE Haeckel, 1877 Family: CARYBDEIDAE Gegenbaur, 1856 Genus: Carybdea Peron & Leseur, 1809 Carybdea marsupialis (Linneaus, 1758) (Figures 1–2) Material examined Four specimens over a 100 m2 area. Bell size ranged from 150 to 190 mm in length and 95 to 120 mm in width. Tentacles 85 mm in length, contracted or torn off;14 February, 2006; Gwadar Fish

Mackie).1937. REFERENCES Arneson. The authors therefore feel that the species may be reported tentatively as Carybdea marsupialis and further consideration is required. Online.. Stiansy. Life history of Carybdea alata Reynaud. & Kazmi. No velar canal could be distinguished. John Murray Expedition 1933–34 Scientific Reports. New York: Plenum Press. Waggoner. sensory niches with covering scale above. no. The first author is working under the Higher Education Commission (HEC). & Kazmi. 2006. In Coelenterate ecology and behaviour (ed. Particulars of the umbrella margin and pedalia. Q. The authors are grateful to the HEC for sponsoring the visit to Gwadar under a HEC funded project. British Museum (Natural History). Photoreceptors of cubozoan jelly fish. Baker. 2004. 1995. trapped on beach at low tide or caught in a net and thrown on the beach. 1976. 30 August. In particular. Submitted 26 April 2007. Baloch of Balochistan Coastal Development Authority (BCDA) for their logistic support during the sampling programme. Pakistan expansion programme. Q. Baker & Wood.V. Toxicity in marine organisms. Kazmi. Matsumoto (personal communication) commented that ‘Biologists may have to make a decision as to whether the velar canals or the gastric cirri are more important in separating the species or an assessment of their DNA may be the only way to solve the whole problem of carybdeid taxonomy’. 2005. 227–236. Baker & Wood (2007) have given the criterion to distinguish the two families of Cubozoa.B. iv. 530/531. The present authors believe that the observed carybdeid is bigger for any described species and created confusion.C. Al-Hayat. JMBA2 Biodiversity Records (Published on line 1–4). vol.1995. interradii tentacles four. Q. the filaments primarily arising from a single trunk. Pakistan Journal of Marine Sciences.B. Indo-Pacific.J. 1999.E. Chirodropidae and Carybdeidae. G. Tahera. N. 163–164.. Q. 4. except for some small brown flecks. but entry open below. 1830 (Cubomedusae). Kazmi and R. DISCUSSION Although several authors grouped Cubozoa with Scyphozoa.The new records of jellyfish medusae (Catotylidae Chioropsidae) from Pakistani waters. gastric cirri dendritic. Marine invertebrates of Bermuda. Rahim Baloch of IUCN-Pakistan and Dilshad A. Distribution Mediterranean. 203–243.2 Q. 7. C. University of California at Berkeley.. Hydrobiologia. Tahera. 135–144. Sultana Carybdea marsupialis in the Arabian Sea Harbour. which has been also met before with other cubozoans. 2004–2007. It is probably best to wait for a revision of the genus and leave the matter to the reviser.B. G. Atlantic. By Marine Invertebrate Zoology Students at the Bermuda Biological Station. Scyphomedusae. & Cutress..O.They are also grateful to A. New records of two jellyfish medusae (Cnidaria: Scyphozoa: Catostylidae: Cubozoa: Chirodropidae) from Pakistani waters. giving it a slightly peppered appearance. pp. A..B. Exumbrella with numerous nematocyst warts mainly along the interadii. Martin. Waggoner. Internet.. 14. B.Biodiversity Records Published on-line . single situated on gelatinous wing shaped pedalia (Figure 2). & Wood. 2007. 1995. successive observations and further investigation of specific anatomical structures and reproductive methods concluded that they are in fact taxonomically different (Arneson & Cutress..13–21. J. 1976. 30 October 2006. tentacles brownish red. Figure 2.. JMBA2 . Introduction to Cubozoa: the box jellies. Colour Bell clear. 2007). Q. Description Top of bell four-lobed.B. Accepted 26 July 2007.