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Rare Red Sea jellyfish found in Rhodes: Experts inform & warn

A relative rare Red Sea jellyfish was found in the sea of the island of Rhodes in the last 24 hours.Experts speak of the effects of the climate crisis in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.The Hydrobiological Station of Rhodes made an announcement on the issue including warning to the public.

Species Medusa Rhopilema Nomadica has a diameter of up to one meter and people should avoid it. It is light blue and the bell is rounded. It can grow up to 10 kg of weight, and its bell is commonly 40–60 cm in diameter, but can be up to 90 cm.

It  can cause very painful injuries to humans, since it has vermicular filaments, which are covered in venomous stinging cells, in the mouth arms.

The European Union lists it as one of the worst invasive marine species in European waters.

This specific jellyfish is normally endemic in the Red Sea and passes through the Suez Canal into the eastern Mediterranean Sea where the temperature has increased by 3 degrees Celsius.

Their number is increasing because the number of sea turtles that are their main predator is also decreasing.

The relatively rare species of jellyfish for the Greek seas was found in Rhodes in the last 24 hours, revealing the effects of the climate crisis in our region, the Hydrobiological Station of Rhodes reported.

It is the species Rhopilema nomadica which can reach up to one meter in diameter, hemispherical shape and has transparent, bluish color.

According to a post by the Hydrobiological Station of Rhodes, the species in question is endemic to the Red Sea, and in the Mediterranean the first record of the species was made in 1970. Since 1980 it periodically appears in the Greek seas, while precautionary instructions are given to citizens as it is recommended to avoid contact, since they are poisonous.

In recent years, a massive invasion of jellyfish has been observed in the Greek seas. These are tropical or subtropical species, most of which began to invade the Mediterranean waters after the construction of the Suez Canal in 1869.

In fact, the foreign – for the Mediterranean ecosystem – species were called Lessepsian immigrants, taking their name from the French canal engineer Ferdinand Lesseps. Based on data, however, the Mediterranean Sea presents the largest number of biological invasions worldwide.

The post of the Hydrobiological Station of Rhodes with InFormation to the Public


Staff of the Hydrobiological Station of Rhodes identified 4 individuals of the species Rhopilema nomadica yesterday (11/3) and today (12/3) in the Gulf of Triante.

This particular species is endemic to the Red Sea, and in the Mediterranean the first record of the species was made in 1970.

Rhopilema nomadica, also known as the nomadic jellyfish, has a hemispherical shape, transparent-bluish color, while its diameter can reach 1 meter. On the lower surface of the body, there are 8 tentacles with filamentous cysts, i.e. small stings with poison, which if they come into contact with the skin cause severe pain, burning sensation, itching and irritation of the area.

Even if we find a jellyfish on the beach, we avoid contact with bare hands!

In case of skin contact, follow these steps:

1. We remove the tentacles or other remnants of the jellyfish, using a plastic card, tweezers, a stick or even a plastic shovel from a children’s toy. We don’t touch the jellyfish with our bare hands!

2. Rinse with sea water or vinegar, but without rubbing the area. We do not use fresh water!

3. We do not cover the area with bandages.

4. As the symptoms may vary from person to person, we do not use medicinal preparations without medical advice.

5. If pain and swelling persists, consult a doctor.

6. In case of an allergic person, that person must contact/go to a doctor or hospital immediately.

Since the 1980s, periodic outbreaks of the population have been recorded in the Greek seas. The appearance of jellyfish outbreaks is a transient phenomenon that usually lasts from a few hours to a few days, and depends mainly on the sea currents.

At the same time, the increase in the temperature of the planet, and thus of the sea, due to climate change, creates favorable conditions for the appearance of such outbreaks in jellyfish populations. We typically mention that in previous years, the sea temperature on the coast of Rhodes during the February-March period was usually at 16°C, while this year for the same period, the temperature is almost 19°C! In addition, the decline of sea turtles, whose jellyfish are a staple food, contributes to the increase in the jellyfish population.”

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One comment

  1. Last but not least ballast water from the Red Sea, released in the Mediterranean.