TO giant jellyfish was spotted off Es Trenc beach on Sunday. Not commonly encountered in Balearic waters, another one was found a few days ago in It is Còdol Foradat, Formentera; it was forty centimeters in diameter.
Antoni Grau, the head of the marine resources service at the regional government’s fisheries directorate, says that this species (Rhizostoma Luteum) is a jellyfish characteristic of the Atlantic. It is occasionally seen in the Mediterranean when it is dragged by sea currents. The coast of Mallorca facing the African continent is very susceptible to currents, he adds, but the giant jellyfish which do appear are generally smaller than the true giants of the Atlantic – a total length, including tentacles, of two meters and weighing around 40 kilos .
Despite their large size, the sting is not dangerous to health, although it can cause small hives or irritation. Grau recommends that “the most appropriate thing is to leave them alone and not remove them from the water”.
The giant jellyfish Rhizostoma Luteum was described for the first time in the 19th century, but it was not until 2013 that a team of experts from the Spanish National Research Council scientifically documented its existence. “None were seen for many years,” says Grau.
Jellyfish are of course very common in the Balearics, but they are usually far smaller. Pelagia noctiluca is the most abundant species and “it is the one most likely to sting bathers”.
Experts believe that climate change could be modifying the presence of jellyfish in the Balearics – the types and their numbers.