Should We Worry About the Jellyfish Apocalypse?

Are you one of those people who plan on swimming in the ocean this holiday? Stripping down and bathing under the sun and saltwater is pretty much on everyone’s summer to-do list. But there is a group of living organism in the ocean that’s loving the warm salty summer water as much as you are and turning dreams into nightmares.

Jellyfishes are visually fascinating creatures that are attracted to warmer water bodies. The Marine Conservation Society has discovered that recently there has been an increase in the number of Jellyfish in the coastal waters.

However, the idea that jellyfishes are taking over the oceans worldwide is built on a rocky foundation. Some scientists argue that the number of jellyfish fluctuate normally over several decades whereas others believe that this increase is caused by overfishing, pollution and possibly climate change.

In certain areas there does seem to be a dramatic increase in the number of jellyfish, leading to periods where there seems to be more jellyfish in a given spot than usual. But the question is are the oceans as a whole becoming steadily jellified?

Marina Sanz-Martín from the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies in Spain investigated and dug deeper into this issue. She started her investigation on jellyfish blooms and found out that many of the sources that the jellyfish researchers were using to backup these claims were not well founded. Some findings were exaggerated and sometimes were distorted from one write up to the next.

Therefore, you need not worry too much but still need to be careful. These creatures still wander in the sea even if not in huge numbers and it can be very painful if they sting you. Their long tentacles can inject venom into your body if you’re bitten.

Irukandji Jellyfish

One of the few venomous jellyfish is Irukandji Jellyfish, a deadly venomous box jellyfish. Though it is smaller than the size of your pinky nail, do not underestimate the power of this creature. Their toxic level is phenomenally frightening and equally fascinating. Just a lightest brush from these, which you don’t even feel, will give you more pain than you can ever imagine.

The Aurelia Aurita or the Moon Jelly

Within the pool of different jellyfishes there are a few harmless ones, which are more fun than fearsome. The Aurelia Aurita or the Moon Jelly is one of the harmless jellyfish and often live in large groups in the sea. From year to year, there are times when they are abundant and at other times they are very scarce. Mature females can be recognised by their pale-pink or purplish gonads and males have milky-white gonads. The Moon Jelly is usually abundant in spring but disappear in July.

Some jellyfishes are edible too! In parts of Asia jellyfishes are commonly consumed as food. Jellyfish fisheries are growing around the world to cater for the demand. Of the twelve types of edible jellyfishes, cannonball and sand jellyfishes are the most popular since they tend to be more meaty and dense.

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