The ongoing heatwave Lucifer will bring some respite to snorkelers and divers, as it has heralded the return of a beautiful coloured jellyfish to the Maltese coastline.
The fried egg jellyfish, named for its distinctive colours, looks set to return in large numbers this summer after a hiatus of a few years. This is because it blooms in hot temperatures, and – thanks to Lucifer – the Maltese sea is currently peaking at around 30 degrees.
The jellyfish usually reaches Maltese shores in the middle of August and indeed its Maltese nickname is tal-lampuki, as its appearance typically coincides with the start of the lampuki fishing season. Yet it has already been spotted in Maltese waters this year, and marine biologist Alan Deidun – who fronts the Spot the Jellyfish campaign – told Lovin Malta that this is likely to mean large blooms of the jellyfish this summer, particularly off the west coast and in the Gozo Channel.
This particular jellyfish is not a harmful one and its stings can barely be felt by humans.
The fried-egg jellyfish is a joy for snorkelers: its tentacles are covered with microscopic algae that provide sugar to the jellyfish through the energy it absorbs from the sun, forcing the jellyfish to swim close to the surface. Moreover, the jellyfish also tends to attract small fish, who seek shelter from predators within its tentacles.
Jellyfish sightings across the Maltese coast can be forwarded to the Spot the Jellyfish campaign.