Jellyfish alerts on southern Spanish beaches

by Lorraine Williamson
Pelagia nocturna jellyfish alerts

PROVINCIA DE MáLAGA – For several days there have been alerts about the presence of many pearl jellyfish on the beaches of Málaga. The presence of jellyfish is normal, but when they appear in large numbers, they cause a nuisance on the now very busy beaches. 

The high temperatures outside and the heated seawater also have less pleasant effects, such as that jellyfish thrive in it. They drift closer to shore where swimmers come into contact with them. In some cases, this results in significant nuisance due to allergic reactions. 

The scientific name of the now dominant jellyfish is Pelagia nocturna. The presence of this jellyfish in the Mediterranean Sea and on the coast is in itself quite normal. Only if they increase in number will they be a problem. However, stings can be very painful. 

Characteristics of the pearl jellyfish 

This species of jellyfish belongs to the class of Scyphozoa, the species considered the “true jellyfish”. It is mainly characterised by its bright pink-violet colour, with the typical mushroom shape that creates its slightly flattened semi-circular umbrella, which can reach a diameter of 20 centimetres. 

The pearl jellyfish has eight tentacles and a total of four long and robust oral tentacles emerging from its mouth. In addition, they have 16 more marginal tentacles that are usually longer than the jellyfish itself, over two metres in length. 

As for the behaviour of this jellyfish, it can form swarms of hundreds of thousands of individuals that usually reach the beaches. It is the most common jellyfish in the Mediterranean. Contact with the sting causes discomfort in the form of a burn. 

From east to west 

The presence of jellyfish on the beaches of Malaga is now on the increase and after the warnings mainly applied to the eastern beaches, the coast of the western area is now also at great risk from the presence of these invertebrates since the weekend. However, it is medium risk. 

The Aula del Mar states that the beaches most affected are those of Manilva and Casares, but that the situation may change after 4.00 pm, as jellyfish usually appear with the rising tide. 

The Infomedusa app reports that on the beaches of Las Gaviotas and Los Boliches-Las Gaviotas in Fuengirola and in Casablanca, Cortijo Blanco, El Ancón, Fontanilla, Guadalmina, Linda Vista, Nagüeles, Nueva Andalucía, Puerto Banús, Río Verde, San Pedro the Alcántara and Ventura del Mar (Playa Canina) in Marbella the chance of the presence of jellyfish is high, especially at high tide. 


The invertebrates have reached the coast of Malaga through the ‘Levante’, the easterly wind of the last days. As a result, a large swarm of jellyfish has reached the western part and will remain there for the time being, said Lucrecia Souviron in She is a technician for the InfoMedusa app. This app provides detailed information on reports of jellyfish at the individual beaches along this southern Spanish coast. 

Medium risk 

The risk across the province is medium. Nevertheless, the situation is calm at times, while that can change at any moment, also depending on the wind and current in the water. In addition to the pearl jellyfish, individual specimens of Rhizostoma luteum and Rhizostoma pulmo, also known as giant jellyfish, have been seen. 

These have a diameter of 60 centimetres and have no tentacles but eight arms. Because of their size, these jellyfish arouse more fear among beachgoers. While they still cause less nuisance than the pearl jellyfish. 

What to do with a jellyfish sting? 

If you have come into contact with a jellyfish, rinse the area with plenty of salt water. Never use fresh water. Rinsing the bite site with vinegar can also provide relief. Try to rub or scratch the area as little as possible. The point is to remove any tentacles that may have been left in the affected area as quickly as possible. After that, you can relieve the pain with an ice pack. However, pain could still develop after a jellyfish bite. Other symptoms include prolonged itching, skin reddening and swelling, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.

Also read: Predict the presence of jellyfish

You may also like