Swarm of jellyfish closes beach

Thousands of thimble jellyfish recently swarmed a beach on Samar Island, forcing locals to close the beach to swimmers and tourists, a Yahoo News report said.

Swarm of jellyfish closes beach

A video posted by Yahoo through the In The Know channel showed the jellyfish, locally known as “baso-baso” (glass-like or cup-like), floating in clumps in shallow water.

The exact location of the beach in Samar was not specified in the video, which was captured by an underwater drone as it glided through the swarms.

The website Newsflare, which first showed the video, said the footage was captured on July 4. It quoted the drone owner as saying: “We got out of the water when they started approaching the shore.”

“I’m still trying to determine if this event is natural or anthropogenic,” the filmer, who was not identified, told Newsflare.

Thimble jellyfish (Linuche unguiculata) is a tiny jellyfish with a straight-sided, flat-topped bell. They are the most common cause of sea bather’s eruption, which is a reaction caused by the injection of juvenile jellyfish nematocysts into human skin. 

Normally found in the tropical and subtropical western Atlantic Ocean, particularly around the West Indies and the Bahamas, this jellyfish can occur in warm surface waters, and it has been found at depths down to about 5,000 m (16,000 ft).

Its presence in any particular location is related to such factors as the presence of prey, temperature, salinity and oxygen saturation of the water, a University of Michigan study in 2018 said.

Last May, the City Fishery Aquatic Resource Management Council in Lapu-Lapu, Cebu warned beachgoers to stay away from thimble jellyfish.

The council said it had received reports about “baso-baso” encounters from tourists, especially those who had been going island hopping.

“If you see this kind of jellyfish, please avoid them because they will sting you and [this] will result to rashes and itchiness on the skin,” Orlando Leyson, CFARMC chairman, said.

Leyson said that thimble jellyfish encounters were reported in some part of Olango Island, and in the seawaters off Barangays Agus and Marigondon in the mainland of Lapu-Lapu City. 

Topics: jellyfish , Samar Island , Linuche unguiculata , City Fishery Aquatic Resource Management Council
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