Jellyfish in the waters around Scilly

Thursday 29th January 2015

Mauve Stinger Jellyfish. Photo credit Tim AllsoppMauve Stinger Jellyfish. Photo credit Tim Allsopp

There has been an influx of jellyfish numbers in the waters around Scilly over the last few months, but why?

 

If you found yourself out in the waters around Scilly over the last few months, you may well have noticed the presence of one particular jellyfish floating around. Pelagia noctiluca is a species of jellyfish is typically a deep water dweller, and it is suggested that this pelagic species of jellyfish has found its way into the shallower waters around Scilly as a result of the storms of last winter.

Its name in latin translates from "Pelagia" meaning "of the ocean", "nocti" meaning "night", and "luca" meaning "light". They are also known as mauve stinger jellyfish, the average size of these jellyfish is 6cm, but they can grow up to 10cm in size across the bell. They do sting, as their name suggests, but it is not fatal and will wear off, though as always if you are unsure it is best to seek medical advice. 

The appearance of these jellyfish in our waters is "unusual" according to local marine conservationist and underwater photographer Tim Allsopp, although it is not unheard of for deep sea species to find their way to our waters. It is likely that, as a result of the storms from last winter, sediment and organisms that the jellyfish feed on have been stirred up from the Atlantic and drifted towards the archipelago. The jellyfish have followed this floating food source and ended up in the shallower waters of Scilly. The presence of these mauve stinger jellyfish is similar to the influx in barrel jellyfish that occured last year.