Lion's mane jellyfish
The specimen is thought to be a lion's mane jellyfishWikimedia Commons

A new species of giant jellyfish has washed up on the shore of a Tasmanian beach in Australia.

Described as a "whopper" by scientists, experts have said the unusual creature is related to the lion's mane jellyfish, the largest known species of the marine animal in the world.

The 1.5 metre specimen was discovered by the Lim family near Hobart in Tasmania, who contacted a local marine biologist.

Josie Lim told AFP: "It blew our minds away. It's not really jellyfish territory here and all we could do was stand back and admire it."

Lisa Gershwin, a scientist with the Australian government's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), said the smaller variations of the jellyfish had been seen in the past. She confirmed the beached jellyfish was the largest they had ever seen.

Speaking to AFP, Gershwin said: "We know about this specimen but it hasn't been classified yet, it hasn't been named.

"It is so big it took our breath away. It's a whopper of an animal but it's not life-threatening, although it does sting. It's so big but we know nothing about it. It highlights again how much we still have to learn about the ocean."

Gershwin also stated there had been an increase in jellyfish around the coast of Tasmania in the last month.

CSIRO scientists now have enough pictures and samples to begin a proper analysis to classify and name the creature. Despite this, much remains unknown, although it is believed the jellyfish are normally found in the cold, boreal water of the Arctic, northern Atlantic and northern Pacific oceans.

Recently, lion's mane jellyfish have been discovered in larger bays of the east coast of the US. It is thought that they use their stinging tentacles to prey, but sea anemones can capture their tentacles, which can then be torn and consumed.

The discovery was made by 12-year-old Xavier Lim, who was "chuffed" at the find.

Lim told ABC: "We were at the beach looking for shells and dad was like 'Whoa! Look at that' ... I kind of touched it ... it was pretty cool'."

Gershwin and her colleagues hoping to set up long-term research projects to investigate the sudden appearance of jellyfish in the area.