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Giant Stinging Jellyfish Found Off Rhodes, Can Shoot Dangerous Venom

Four nomad jellyfish, which can reach 1 meter (3.2) feet in diameter and have eight tentacles filled with venom they can inject into targets, were found off the coast of Rhodes, just as the spring tourism season is beginning.

Scientists discovered them and said they can cause very painful injuries to humans, unlike a smaller purple jellyfish incursion over the past couple of years that are stinging but less dangerous and can be treated fast.

“The Rhopilema nomadica, also known as the nomadic jellyfish, is bell-shaped, has a transparent-bluish color, whose diameter can reach up to one meter,” the Rhodes Hydrobiological Station said.

Nomad jellyfish have eight thick tentacles that contain millions of nematocysts, which, upon contact with a foreign body, release a microscopic “harpoon” carrying venom, making them dangerous to humans.

“The appearance of jellyfish outbreaks is a transient phenomenon that usually lasts from a few hours to a few days, and depends mainly on sea currents. At the same time, the increase in the temperature of the planet, and therefore of the sea, due to climate change, creates favorable conditions for the appearance of such outbreaks in the jellyfish populations,” the Rhodes Hydrobiological Station said.

The scientists said that sea temperatures around the island are 3°C higher than 2022, year, adding that the decline in sea turtles, a staple food for the jellyfish, and which has contributed to the increase in the jellyfish population.

The jellyfish are indigenous to the Indian and Pacific oceans but since the 1970s have passed through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean. They were also found earlier in March off Cyprus.

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