Very toxic 'jellyfish' spotted off the coast of Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza
©iStockphoto - The Physalia physalis, better known as the Portuguese warship

Its appearance invariably frightens bathers and now it seems to be that time again for the coast of Mallorca and other islands of the Balearic Islands. Very toxic ‘Portuguese warships’ have been reported there.

“During her vacation on Mallorca, a Berlin woman photographed something on the beach that looked suspiciously like a Portuguese warship,” writes the German newspaper Die Welt. Marine biologists from the Alfred Wegener Institute have confirmed her suspicion. The jellyfish was found in the neighborhood of Sant Jordi in the south of Mallorca.

The Spanish Ministry of the Environment also responded and agreed that a specimen had been seen on May 14 in the waters near Sant Jordi. Other observations would have been made off the coast of Menorca and Ibiza, the ministry said.

The current during the spring caused the Portuguese warships to have surfaced off the coast of Mallorca, the ministry says. Then they were driven by the wind. Also in May and July last year there were several observations of the ‘jellyfish’ on the coastline of the island.

“Do not touch them in any way,” a ministry spokeswoman said. “If you find a copy, immediately notify a coastal rescuer and call the emergency number.”

On May 14, Portugal also reported that the presence of the ‘jellyfish’ must be taken into account along the entire coast.

The Portuguese warship is not really a jellyfish, but a siphonophore, a colony of individual polyps. They sparkle, but it is best not to get too close. The tentacles of the warship can be up to 50 meters long.

“These tentacles can break off and float away on the waves, where they are difficult to see for swimmers. Even dead and stranded, the intact tentacles can still be irritating,” says the Belgian poison control center on its website.

The poison causes severe pains and in some also breathlessness. The poison is deadly for small fish.

Source: Die Welt, Mallorca Zeitung, HLN

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