Almeria’s jellyfish invasion

Blue jellyfish swamp beach in Almeria

Image of a Velella jellyfish. Credit: Leonyl-berlin/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

Thousands of ‘Velella’ jellyfish, small hydrozoans, have inundated the Levante Almeriense coast, driven ashore by strong winds.

This phenomenon left Vera Playa locals astounded on Tuesday, April 23 as they discovered numerous blue jellyfish sprawled on the sand. One concerned resident posted on social media, ‘We alerted the Guardia Civil, and then 112 in case there was some kind of spillage that could have caused this, does anyone know what it could be due to?’

Despite worries, these incidents are influenced not by pollution but by global warming, which affects the distribution of these creatures. Known for being carried by the wind due to their lack of self-propulsion, mass strandings of ‘Velella’ jellyfish are becoming more frequent worldwide.

Interestingly, while their striking blue colour may resemble the dangerous ‘Portuguese man o’ war’, ‘Velella’ jellyfish are harmless. Their toxins do not affect human skin, though caution is advised if they come into contact with eyes or open wounds.

Unlike true jellyfish, Velella belong to the hydrozoan class and are distinct for their sail-like structure that harnesses the wind, propelling them across the sea surface.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.