Drum jellyfish sighted on Algarve beaches should not be touched

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The drum jellyfish was spotted this week more than 120 times “on many beaches” in the Algarve, from Lagos to Vila Real de Santo António, but mainly in the eastern Algarve, the IPMA said, advising against touching the organisms.

The Portuguese Institute of Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA), in a statement on its website, warns that the species Rhizostoma Luteum, known as the drum jellyfish, “has been sighted in considerable abundance on many beaches in the Algarve”, and in the last week of June more than 120 sightings of the species were received by GelAvista, IPMA’s citizen science program.

The occurrence of this species is common on the Portuguese coast, especially in the Algarve, during the summer and fall, and these occurrences are natural cyclical, associated with the period of their reproduction, explains the IPMA.

The institute considers that the increase in these occurrences must be related to currents and winds that favor the transport of organisms to the beaches.

“This is a large jellyfish, whose bell can reach up to 60 centimeters in diameter. It is characterized by its short, leafy oral arms with long, dark-colored appendages at the ends,” the statement said.

As the drum jellyfish is considered slightly urticating, the IPMA warns that in case of direct contact with the skin, ice compresses should be applied for about 15 minutes, after washing and cleaning the affected area with sea water.

GelAvista advises avoiding touching the organisms, even when they appear to be dead on the beach, as well as attempting to return them to the sea.

The IPMA recommends, in the communiqué, that the presence of jellyfish be signaled and their location communicated to lifeguards.

“Preferably, one should not interfere with the ecosystem, but if necessary, the organisms can be removed to organic waste and never buried,” he informs.

The GelAvista program has been monitoring gelatinous organisms in Portuguese waters since 2016, collecting information.

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