Tens of thousands of blue jellyfish on the beach of Ibiza

by Lorraine Williamson
jellyfish

IBIZA – At the end of March it already had happened on some beaches in Mallorca. But on Tuesday, it was the turn of a number of beaches in Ibiza. They were covered with a large number of ‘mizzens’ or state jellyfish. 

On Tuesday, April 19, the bay of Sant Vicent awoke to a blue blanket formed by hundreds of thousands of ‘medusas Velera’, literally translated ‘sailboat jellyfish’. Moreover, these include the beaches of Cala Salada, Port des Torrent, and Platges de Comte. 

“Incredible” 

Laura María Aguiló Rendón, a Majorcan holidaying in Ibiza these days, couldn’t believe it when she arrived at this beach and spotted the blue invasion. She told the newspaper Diario de Ibiza she had been there the day before and there was no sign of these animals. 

“It was unbelievable to see how many jellyfish had arrived on the coast overnight. The image was bizarre,” Laura told Diario de Ibiza. The jellyfish are not very large, a few reached a height of about 5 centimetres. However, the majority were between 2 and 3 centimetres high. 

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What is the ‘sailboat jellyfish’? 

The Velella velella is a hydroid polyp in the family Porpitidae. Furthermore, the polyp comes from the genus Velella. Velella velella was first scientifically described by Linnaeus in 1758. It is commonly known by the names sea raft, by-the-wind sailor, purple sail, little sail, or simply Velella. 

This round, highly developed, 10 cm wide state jellyfish floats on the surface. On the top of the float is a gas-filled triangular sail, so that it can be propelled by the wind. However, after storms, one often sees entire ribbons of these animals on tropical beaches. 

Sea ​​turtles 

Moreover, little sail is popular among sea turtles. South of Formentera, the high concentrations of ‘Velella velella’ in the high seas, caused by the cyclonic eddies of surface waters, annually brings together many loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) in the area. It is commonly known by the names sea raft, by-the-wind sailor, purple sail, little sail, or simply Velella. 

It is one of the few jellyfish species that live on the sea surface, unlike the rest of the jellyfish that usually inhabit at least greater depths. The mizzen has a certain resemblance in its morphology to the Portuguese Warship. However, the Velella Velella is much smaller with venom that is harmless to humans. 

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