The 10 most common jellyfish in Spain and their dangers

Organisms whose existence is necessary in the environment to maintain the balance between species. But obviously Jellyfish they are not welcomed by swimmers who want to dive into the beach. They spawn on Spanish beaches every summer due to many factors. We explain what they are in this list from the Ministry of Ecological Transformation. Most common species on the coast of Spainand the degree of danger represented by its sting is often painful and sometimes even dangerous to humans.

aguacuajada (Cotylorhiza tuberculata)

It is also known as the ‘fried egg jellyfish’ because of its characteristic appearance. It has the shape and color of a flattened umbrella, with a yellowish brown, slightly green and distinctive orange central protrusion. It is usually 20 to 35 centimeters in diameter.

It lives both in open waters and on the coast, especially in the latter. It is common throughout the Mediterranean in summer and autumn. Very abundant on the Mar Menor.

cotylorhiza tuberculata pexel

Its danger is low because its tentacles are short and its capacity to produce hive is limited due to the low density of stinging cells. It does nothing but cause mild skin irritation and itching.

Luminous Jellyfish (pelagia noctiluca)

It is one of the most common. It can measure more than 20 centimeters in diameter. It has 16 tentacles that can reach more than 20 meters in length when opened. The entire surface of its umbrella is covered with warts and has a characteristic reddish-pink color.

It is very common in open waters and approaches the shores, especially in summer, when the winds drag it from the sea to the shore. It is abundant in both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.

pelagia noctiluca area of ​​interest

The danger is high. It causes irritation and itching at the skin level and can even leave an open wound that can become infected. Because of its abundance and the length of its tentacles, the affected skin surface may be high and therefore the effect of the venom can cause respiratory, cardiovascular and dermatological problems that can last for weeks or even months.

bad water (Rhizostoma pulmo)

Aguamala, known as aguaviva or acalefo azul, is a large jellyfish (it can reach up to one meter in its umbrella) with a bell-shaped shape and beautiful violet ornaments. It is a species that lives in the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts and can be seen especially in summer.

rizhostuma lung area of ​​interest

Although contact with it is stinging, which usually does not cause serious injury, care should still be taken: If we find ourselves in confined waters, there is no need for direct contact with it to sting. It has loose tentacles inside.

aurelia aurita

This jellyfish is shaped like a circle with cheekbone-shaped arms and is distinguished by four horseshoe-shaped reproductive organs, violet in the center. Transparent color, mottled blue-white. Annoyed. It is more abundant in coastal areas and lagoons such as the Mar Menor, as well as in fjords and closed bays with contributions from continental waters, as well as in lagoons and coastal waters with significant saline variations. Its bite is not very dangerous, but it can cause skin irritation.

aurelita water sports

compass jellyfish (chrysalis hysoscella)

this chrysalis hysoscellaKnown in Spain as the compass jellyfish or radiating acalefo, it is characterized by yellow and orange hues, a striped pattern, and long tentacles that can reach five meters in length. It is yellowish white in color and has a characteristic radial design reminiscent of the drawing of 16 open bars on the umbrella. In some instances this drawing may not be clearly distinguishable.

It is relatively common in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, sometimes forming flocks. It is common in open waters, but can approach currents-driven shores, especially in summer.

chrysalis hysoscella naturemediterranean

Its danger is “high”, according to the Ministry of Ecological Transition, and its bites cause itching and burning at first. Erythematous lesions and edema appear soon after and cause welts that may take time to disappear.

Portuguese war manphysalia physalis)

It is technically a polyp colony, not a jellyfish, and belongs to the order Siphonophores. Therefore, its morphology is slightly different, because unlike real jellyfish, its ‘head’ floats. It offers vibrant intense blue and pink-violet colors, and despite the relatively small size of its floating part (about 30×10 cm in the largest specimens), its slender venomous tentacles, which are hard to see, can exceed 20 meters in length.

It is typical in temperate Atlantic waters, although it can occasionally be found in the Mediterranean. It acts at the mercy of surface currents and winds.

physalis physalis area of ​​interest

The danger is ‘very high’, according to the ministry. Contact with its tentacles can have very serious consequences for humans. High concentrations of nematocysts and their potent poisons with neurotoxic, cytotoxic and cardiotoxic properties can cause neurogenic shock, in some cases caused by intense pain, as a result of which there is a danger of suffocation. In any case, close contact with the tentacles that become tangled and sticky while trying to get rid of them can cause burning and severe pain and skin tears.

sailboat (velella velella)

This species is also not a true jellyfish, but a hydrozoan with a floating structure. Small: the diameter of its disc varies from 1 to 8 centimeters. It forms large flocks in winter and spring. Fortunately, it does not pose any danger.

velella velella our climate

Aequorea forskalea

Transparent jellyfish in the form of a plate of about 30 centimeters with recognizable black patterns. It is common in the Atlantic, but can also occasionally be seen in the Mediterranean and sometimes heavily concentrated along coastlines. Their numbers are increasing in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. It does not bite, so it is not dangerous.

aequorea forskalea area of ​​interest

box jellyfish (Carybdea marsupialis)

Apart from the box jellyfish, it is also known as the sea hornet in the Mediterranean. It has a strange appearance with a cubic shape and long tentacles, highlighted by bioluminescence with a bluish or whitish color. One of their most striking features is that they have a complex eye that allows them to respond to moving objects and to changes in light.

box jellyfish tusciaweb

Its sting is very serious and can pose a serious danger to human health, but usually does not cause incidents as it lives in relatively deep waters (below 20 m). They are very difficult to find.

American ctenophore (Mnemiopsis leidyi)

It is an invasive species native to the Atlantic coast of America. Its introduction took place in the Black Sea, where a large number of fisheries contributed to its downfall. From there it spread to other regions, including the Mediterranean. It was first spotted off the coast of Spain in the summer of 2009.

Mnemiopsis leidyi barentswatch

It is a small and odd-looking organism with beautiful iridescent colors. It has no tentacles, but consists of a bulb about 10 centimeters long. It is collected in large concentrations (up to 15,000 individuals per square meter). It does not cause any kind of sting and therefore is not dangerous.

Original Ministry list:


Environment department contact

Source: Informacion


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