Warning against stings: jellyfish attack tourists in the Mediterranean

Warning against stings: jellyfish attack tourists in the Mediterranean

sting warning
Squirrel jellyfish attack Mediterranean holidays

It is extremely painful to touch and its effects last for weeks: anyone who bathes in the Mediterranean should be wary of jellyfish stings. Many coastal areas are currently facing a real plague. Experts are concerned, but also emphasize the great benefits of animals.

They can really spoil a vacation by the sea: On the Mediterranean Sea, purple jellyfish, about the size of an apple, are increasingly tormenting bathers. Touching their tentacles is incredibly painful. Since mid-June, the fiery jellyfish Pelagia noctiluca has multiplied explosively off the coasts of Corsica and the Cte ​​d’Azur and is creating baths for vacationers on many southern French beaches. Italian Simone Martini can sing a song about it. This caught him on a beach in Ajaccio, Corsica. “Two weeks later, the bite sometimes hurts,” he says of the wound on his forehead.

There are many ways to relieve pain, but oceanographer Fabian Lombard is skeptical of most methods: “Puraging on the wound certainly doesn’t help,” says the Marine Research Institute Laboratoire d’Ocenografé de Villefranche / K experts say. My laugh. Above all, however, one should not “wash the affected area with sea water or rub it with sand”.

Squirrel jellyfish shoot small harpoons containing a venomous cocktail from stinging capsules attached to their tentacles. Lombard explains, “Jellyfish are blind, so they sting anything to see if they can eat it. They inject neurotoxins to paralyze their prey and digest them.” enzymes.”

Scientists are concerned about jellyfish for other reasons. In a report published in 2019, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that the spread of jellyfish would lead to “jellification,” a type of mucus contamination, in the oceans. Fabian Lombard is skeptical: “We have no reliable measurements indicating that there are more jellyfish.” However, he acknowledges that “the 80s and 90s in Villefranche-sur-Mer alternated five to six years with jellyfish and five to six years without jellyfish”. But this year is “already the 25th in a row with jellyfish”.

more fishing results

However, Lombard cautions against viewing jellyfish plague as a problem in itself. Rather, it is a symptom of overfishing of the seas. For Lovina Fulgreb of the Corsican Marine Research Institute Stereso, overfishing of tuna and sea turtles, both of which eat jellyfish, is one of the most plausible hypotheses to explain the more frequent occurrence of jellyfish.

Jellyfish have been living in the oceans for about 600 million years. Science has some breakthroughs to thank for cnidarians. The 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, for example, was awarded for the use of phosphors from jellyfish in the visualization of cell processes, for example in Alzheimer’s research. The US space agency NASA has been using jellyfish to study reproduction in weightlessness, and since 2017 has been working with the European Union “Gojelly” project to investigate whether jellyfish can be used for nutrition, fertilization or environmental pollution. How can it be done against?

According to Lombard, jellyfish can be used in fish farming or as feed to maintain soil moisture, for example in viticulture or rice cultivation. The marine researcher says the jellyfish’s collagen is sometimes used to bind moisture in diapers or tampons, and in some places makes concrete more flexible and thus more earthquake-resistant. Research is also being done on how jellyfish can help in the formation of cartilage in the human body.

And as a last resort, people could still eat jellyfish to limit their numbers. At least that’s what the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) suggested in 2013.

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