Invasion of unusual jellyfish species on Costa Brava beaches

by Lorraine Williamson
unusual jellyfish

ROSES – Thousands of jellyfish of an unusual species on the Costa Brava washed over the beaches of El Port de la Selva a Llança (Alt Empordà in Girona) on Sunday. Many bathers therefore no longer dared to go into the sea and warned the authorities.

The jellyfish invasion was a result of the exceptionally high temperatures and authorities advised against entering the sea. The jellyfish were of the ‘Aequorea forskalea‘ species, which do not show themselves so quickly close to the coast and usually remain deeper in the sea. They do sting, hence the warning not to swim. 

According to a spokesperson for the municipality, it is not something “exceptional” as it is breeding season. However, when the jellyfish reach the coast, they are usually already dead. 

Unusual jellyfish in the area 

The jellyfish covered the area between the Sarnella lighthouse and the bay. The specimens of the species ‘Aequorea forskalea‘ can grow up to 20 centimetres. It is a rare species of jellyfish in the area. Normally they are more in the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, but also the Mediterranean Sea, where it usually lives on the high seas. When the wind brings it closer, the jellyfish only comes towards the coast. 

The jellyfish have also been seen in various parts of Llançà and in coastal towns in northern Catalonia, such as Canet de Rosselló. According to some experts, it is a strain that does not cause hives. 

“Normal for the time of year” 

According to biologist Eduard Marquès, this is a normal situation for the time of year. Because the water is full of nutrients, resulting in a lot of algae growth, which in turn are filtered by species such as jellyfish. “It’s the life cycle, it usually happens every year and that it’s happening is a good sign,” he notes. 

Polyp colonies 

In this sense, he says, these jellyfish are usually accompanied by other organisms such as the ‘foskalies edwardsi’, polyp colonies that can grow up to three metres in length. “This weekend we saw them, along with two turtles, following the jellyfish, in Cap de Creus.” 

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