Mauve stinger jellyfish
WARNING: The tentacles in particular can inflict a painful sting.
Common Name: Mauve stinger jellyfish
Scientific Names: Pelagia noctiluca
Description: This Jellyfish usually has a bell from 5-12cm in overall diameter. This circular bell has a number of long, frilly mouth tentacles hanging down from the middle. The thin main feeding tentacles around the edge of the bell can, however, be very long up to 5m + as the video shows. Stinging cells (called nematocysts) on these long tentacles are used to kill and capture prey.
Distinctive Features: A bluish, pinkish Jellyfish with long trailing tentacles.
Abundance: Whilst there may often be one or two scattered in the water column these are generally not a problem. However, huge numbers, where you can see 10-20+ in a single view, can occur in certain conditions. Bathing without a wetsuit in these circumstances is not advisable.
Habitat & Behaviour: They live throughout the water column but cause most problems when they are funnelled in large numbers into shallow bays under certain conditions of wind and tide.
Reaction to Snorkellers & Divers:You can tell when there is a serious problem with Jellyfish because there will not be any swimmers in the water. These Jellyfish do not react to snorkellers and divers, who must ‘give way’ to them though wetsuits will give some protection from the stings. If there are Jellyfish around keep a careful watch when snorkelling.
Maltese Name: Brama komuni
Other Notes: After big storms the Jellyfish will often lose their longer tentacles and at this point it is common to observe them being eaten by a variety of fish, Sardines, Bream, and Picarel in the water column.
Text: Bob Earll
Photo: Russell & Gill Bennett
Video: Russell & Gill Bennett
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