Do YOU know what this is? Incredibly rare alien-like purple jellyfish washes up on a beach at Byron Bay

  • A rare purple jellyfish has washed up onto the shore at a beach in Byron Bay
  • The vibrant purple fish features a dense lumpy section over a thin wavy tail 
  • Images of the jellyfish were posted online leaving many commentators in awe
  • Expert thinks it is a Crown Jellyfish, eaten as a delicacy in China and Japan 

An incredible rarely-seen purple jellyfish species has washed up on a Byron Bay beach. 

Pictures were posted online showing the unique creature, which is a vibrant purple colour and features a dense lumpy section on top of a thinner wavy tail.

The images were posted on the Byron Bay Community Board Facebook page, with many comments on the post in awe of the stunning jellyfish.

‘That is beautiful, but would probably kill you,’ one comment reads.

A rarely seen Crown Jellyfish has washed up on the shore in Byron Bay, startling the locals

‘Oh wow love that!’ another post says.

Other comments thought the quirky jellyfish was the product of the partying culture in Byron Bay.

‘Someone probably threw their stash of drugs in the ocean, this is the result,’ one post reads.

Plankton researcher Julian Uribe-Palomino from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) said although an examination would be needed to be completely sure what species it is, he thinks it is a Crown Jellyfish, known by the scientific name Cephea cephea.

The jellyfish, from the cepheidae family, is typically found in the open ocean, so is rarely seen washed up on shore.

The Crown Jellyfish can grow up to 60cm in diameter and is found in the open ocean. It is eaten as a delicacy in China and Japan

Also known as the Cauliflower Jellyfish, it is rarely seen on shore. This one was snapped in the Red Sea. It catches microscopic prey with stinging cells that trail behind it as it swims

They are typically found in the Indian and Pacific oceans, the Red Sea, the East Atlantic and the Atlantic waters off West Africa, according to the Atlas of Living Australia.

‘Animals that live in open waters are not observed that often unless they are washed on the beach because of strong winds or ocean currents,’ Mr Uribe-Palomino said.

The scientist encouraged anyone who finds such a creature to contact the Atlas of Living Australia with their photographs and information about their find.

‘Encouraging people to submit information might help researchers to track species distribution and also to find the frequency of observation and seasonality of those animals,’  he told Daily Mail Australia.

Australian Museum Research Institute marine invertebrate expert Stephen Keable agreed that it was most likely a Crown Jellyfish.

Dr Keable said they’re generally reported in Queensland from around Hervey Bay to Stradbroke Island.

‘We have had records south to Bermagui and Narooma in NSW in the last 5 years,’ he said.

Cephea cephea: The Crown Jellyfish

* Has a colourful main body that is blue to purple

* Is rarely seen onshore unless driven in by strong winds or currents 

* Grows up to 60cm in diameter, with multiple bobbles on top of its bell

* Sometimes called the ‘Cauliflower Jellyfish’ for its corrugated surface  

* Lives in the open waters of the world’s oceans 

* Catches prey with stinging cells that trail behind it on filaments as it swims 

* It swims by pulsing the thin frilled skirt around its crown  

* Found in the Indo-Pacific, Red Sea, East Atlantic, and off West Africa 

* Is caught and eaten as a delicacy in China and Japan  

Source: Atlas of Living Australia   

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